Brainstorming Plot Points: The More Twisted the Better

So far we have explored brainstorming plot ideas and writing prompts. So where do we go from here?

Think tropes. How many times can a story be told? Sure, we can do it again. Our words are not their words, but is that enough?

Of course not. Not only do we need to explore our imaginations to write every scene, we need to incorporate conflict, push the story forward, and increase the tension. We also need to surprise, entertain and maintain a hold on our readers.

My favorite twists are:

  1. Let the reader think one thing when something entirely different is tulipsgoing on (makes the reader read the story again)
  2. Make a list of all twisty possibilities and pick something random and unexpected (but logical and within the realm of the character’s character)
  3. To come at the plot and subplots sideways. (try to anticipate what the reader will need an supply it) Hopefully, making it as original as possible.

From here I’m assuming the story is strong enough that the reader will continue to read and discover the twist(s). Never think that the twist is enough to temp anyone to read on. If every sentence is an effort, the book is going to be put down and the brilliant twists will be lost. Twists don’t carry a story; they enhance it.

For every author the method will be different. For me, because I plot, I make lists of all possibilities. Then try each one for size. Some twists will be small almost unnoticeable, and because I like them they stay. Although small twists can be fun, they also hint at more to come. The big twist is something I work out before I write a word.

It has to be incorporated from the start. Think The Perfect Getaway, or Perfect Strangers. If you want to use a twist, both what is happening and what the reader dragon-149393_1280bassumes must be solid. Beta readers are the only way to test your twists.

Do you like to incorporate twists? What angle do you take? What rules do you follow?


Gleaned from:


31 responses to “Brainstorming Plot Points: The More Twisted the Better

  1. I’m not a “sit-down-and-plot” writer, so I follow Steven King’s rule, when he says: “If you don’t know the ending ahead of time, then neither will your readers.” πŸ™‚ Stories are like music, though. You only have so many notes but the melodies are infinitely many. πŸ™‚

  2. I like plot twists, but since I know exactly how my story will end before I begin writing, and because I tend to be a linear thinker, twists usually have to present themselves to me on their own. I’m not so good at deliberately brainstorming them… although I still try.

  3. I love to throw twists into my plot and trick my readers. Nothing is more fun. πŸ˜‰

  4. My stories have lots of twists, and because I don’t outline, I’m always surprised as well. But I’ve noticed some readers (*cough* agents *cough*) like things to be a bit more foreshadowed and tied up in a neat bow. I still hope I’ll find the right person who likes my less tidy endings. πŸ˜‰

  5. I do love a good plot twist. I don’t plot out during the first draft. I do during subsequent drafts and even rewrites. That’s when I find all my golden nuggets to toss. =)

  6. I once took a writing class on brainstorming. What that did was force me to go well beyond the typical plot points, to the absurd. Not surprisingly, when I thought those up, some of them resonated nicely.

  7. I love twists, both reading and writing them. Predictability is the death knell of good story. I don’t plot long fiction, but twists are always inherent in my premise. I structure the plot around key twists as I write. My short stories are all about the twist at the end. If I don’t have the twist in mind when I begin to write, I don’t bother.

    VR Barkowski

  8. I really like your thought on building on each plot point with different possibilities. I need to try that. I think I plot the points with the purpose and I sketch out a rough page for the direction of each chapter with bits of dialogue building up to the plot point. The problem for me is when I get so engrossed with the dialogue the character says something I didn’t plan to say and throws a wrench into the plot…lol. I love writing dialogue 😊

    • Dialogue can surprise all of us. Its like the characters have minds of their own.

      Revision is a good place to sort out the bumps. Until then roll with it. πŸ™‚

  9. I like plot twists. They keep me on the edge of my seat. A story loses its oomph if I can predict what will happen next. That’s why I also like red herrings.

  10. I can’t plot my stories all the way through. I can start them, but I have to write the draft to figure out the rest of the story. That said, when I get stuck along the way, I make lists of possibilities — just like you said you do. Recently, when I was stuck, I figured out there were 4 possible pre-existing conditions to the current plot: A, B, C, and D. I thought I knew which one I wanted and which was least likely. But since i was stuck, I made a list of the possibilities resulting from each one. Of course, the one I was leaning toward was a dead-end. (Hence my stuckness.) And the one I thought least likely led to the twistiest, most interesting path to the end of the story.

  11. sherry fundin

    Great title for the post. I love to be fooled and surprised.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  12. I love when an author get trick a seasoned reader like myself. It is one of the reasons I like unreliable narrators.

  13. Same as you I like to plot my twists ahead of writing. I always know the big ones before starting so I know what I need to do in order to get there. I do love a good plot twist as a reader too, especially the kind where you can look back at the story and realise that if you’d known where to look, it was all laid out already. Basically your twist option 1 πŸ™‚

  14. I like plot twists that surprise me as long as they’re plausible and not way out in left field. As a pantser, I know some of the twists ahead of time, but not all of them. Sometimes the story will go off in an entirely different direction than I was expecting. Those twists are the best.
    Love that dragon head image.

  15. Pingback: Sherry's Shelves #43 - Books & Fun - fundinmentalfundinmental

  16. Pingback: Brainstorming: Having Faith in your Choice | Elements of Writing

  17. Pingback: Author Toolbox #1: Plotting, Sub-Plotting, and Series Threads | elements of emaginette

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