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:
- Let the reader think one thing when something entirely different is going on (makes the reader read the story again)
- Make a list of all twisty possibilities and pick something random and unexpected (but logical and within the realm of the character’s character)
- 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 assumes 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?