1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    How important is a twist

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by marcusl, Oct 20, 2009.

    I have faith in the fundamentals of story structure, as in conflict, resolution, etc. However, I wonder if it's essential to have a twist? I've read several stories where you know what the ending is from the start. They're still wonderful tales, though. What do you think?

    Also, I wonder why people like to have twists right before the climax? I figured a story would be nice to have twists and turns in multiple areas?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Some stories benefit from a reversal, but crowbarring in a twist just for the sake of surprise can ruin an otherwise fine story.

    A good reversal doesn't just leap out from nowhere. It's integral to the logic of the story, so when the reader reaches it, it's immediately obvious.
     
  3. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    It really depends on the story. If you think the story is good enough without a plot twist, then don't put in a plot twist.

    However, it's always a nice addition to a story that seems quite predictable. For instance, a girl falls in love with this boy and, for the whole story, she tries to charm him. The reader would see what would happen next. They would say, "Oh well, the girl will get the guy in the end and that's that". That's very boring for a reader in this day and age. If you were to put a good twist in, that would startle the reader and throw them off. Maybe in the end the guy can't fall in love with her because he's actually gay or because of a traumatic event, etc, etc...

    A twist makes things a lot more interesting. It adds to the uniqueness of a story. If you feel that your story is unique enough without a twist, then don't bother putting it in.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I guess if you are Chubby Checker, then rather.
     
  5. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Personally I don't like when stories get predictable to the point where they need a plot twist. So no I don't think they are necessary, but as Cog said the story could benefit.

    The kinds of twists I like is when information is withheld for logical reasons from the reader and then revealed in a not so forceful way. I do this quite occasionally. I'll leave something out and when it's revealed it changes the whole story in a fun way :)
     
  6. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    The best twists happen when all the information is there but the reader hasn't made the pieces fit so when the they finds out their reaction is "whoa how come I didn't see that before."
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    bottom line:
    no, it's not essential that every story have a twist... nor should every one have one, and those that do, don't have to have one at any particular point in the piece, nor only have one, or any set number...

    each and every story will demand its own structure and elements... there's no set formula for fiction and following one is definitely not conducive to good creative writing...
     
  8. noddy
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    noddy New Member

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    Personally:
    I love plot twists. They make me feel all sunshiney inside. Especially when they're good. I adore unbelievable twists. I've read books before where I'm at the climax and all of a sudden, I have to put the book down. A moment of silence for something that just turned my brain into chowder. It's just amazing when all these tiny trails have been leading you along throughout the novel and WHAM! you get hit with this blatantly obvious turn. It's plotgasmic. ;)

    In actuality:
    I agree with the post above me. It is not absolutely essential to have plot twists in your story. I think I've read a couple that didn't really have any, and they were enjoyable all the same. It's true that there's no actual formula for novel writing; well, I guess besides the orientation, complication, resolution our primary school teachers bludgeoned us with. If your story is substantial and intriguing without the twist, I don't really see why you couldn't just skip the twist. :)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    did you really mean 'couldn't'?...
     
  10. noddy
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    noddy New Member

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    LOL.

    *cough*

    Yes, exactly.
     
  11. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    Only if your story builds up to the plot twist should you include it. Suddenly saying 'oh and btw he was a vampire' at the end with no build-up makes it self-conscious and stupid. No offence.
     
  12. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, a good twist is one that makes me go "Oh damn, I should have known." and reach a sense of wonder as all that had happened previously suddenly falls into place. Like in The Sixth Sense. The whole story is built up around that twist, it's not just thrown in for kicks (I know the author didn't plan it from the start, but it's obviosuly been in the cards on some subconscious level).

    A twist should seem inevitable, not unlikely. Foreshadow it properly -- you can really throw alot of clues at people before it becomes too obvious.
     
  13. Pidgeon Grenade
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    It's difficult to write a good plot twist. Unless you are very clever you will probably **** it up. Don't try it unless you have a great idea. Personally I like plot twists but they aren't very important. The journey and development of characters between beginning and end is more important. I would rather read an exciting story with great character development and a predictable ending than a boring story with stale character and a twist.
     
  14. WaltzElf
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    WaltzElf Member

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    Do you need a twist? No

    Should you put one in? Probably not.

    Twists are incredibly difficult to pull off with any degree of style. 99% of the time (even with otherwise professional and experienced writers) I find twists uttely contrived - as though the author is throwing it in because either they feel they need to, or feel like they're being intelligent (when they're not).

    I'll rarely rate a "twist" story. I can count on one hand how many recent twist stories I've enjoyed.

    So I strongly caution against it, unless you're a better writer than one of Hollywood's highest paid and well-regarded writer/ directors (because he's only done it well once, and you all know who I'm talking about).
     
  15. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    Personally I find that a sudden change in the plot can really pick up the pacing. I use twists quite often in my stories but I use them in the way Twisted Inversely mentioned. If the reader can pick it out right before it happens I feel I did it right. I don't like my MCs to have a linear objective, I feel I twist can be a good way to reveal to them what they are really after.

    But really I find a twist is a hard thing to discuss when taking it out of context. A lot of my favorite moments in movies books and video games were twists. lol I read Goosebumps books when I was little and the twist ending were always hilarious.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how are we supposed to know which one you mean, when there are more than one of 'em?
     
  17. WaltzElf
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    WaltzElf Member

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    Touche... I think?


    I can only think of one "celebrity writer/ director that likes to throw a random twist at the end of his films" - I've been out of the loop for a while now though, perhaps some more snuck in.
     
  18. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is one of the reasons I loved the Goosebumps books. They always had this twist at the end and it was just awesome. Well from the ones I have read. Though I have been wanting to get my hands on some of them...
     
  19. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I had at one point piles and piles of them at one point. Not sure if I still have them. I hated the choose your ending ones. No matter what your character died a painful death. Rather depressing for a child lol I even still have the VHS tapes. The show managed to stay pretty close to the books, but the images in my head tended to be far more graphic.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so, which one is it, elf?
     
  21. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    Oooooo, I want to guess M. Night "With a Twist" Shyamalamalan! (Yes I do know how to spell his name correctly)

    I actually thought "Unbreakable" was better than "Sixth Sense", but then, I saw it first. And since it was unhyped, relatively, no one had spoiled the ending for me. And he wasn't known for his endings yet at that point.
     
  22. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    How about the famous twist in Phantasy Star II? I was so pissed when someone ruined that part for me, and then an interview ruined the ending for me!

    How could people ruin what I consider on of the RPGs of all time? The twists were what made it so amazing! That and the game had balls. It wasn't all cushy like Chrono Trigger.
     
  23. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Not important at all, not many stories do have twists and some seem to so it merely for the sake of it, which turns out to be rather uninspiring and ruins the whole thing. Plus if you start to write twists in everything people begin to expect it, and spend their time trying to work out what the twist will be this time, which could ruin the whole experience. I would only recommend putting in a twist if that is something that you have always had in mind throughout the whole process (twists also work better in some genres than others, crime thrillers for instance use them well whereas they are harder to pull off in an historical romance for example)
     
  24. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the most genuinly funny pc-game ever made, No One Lives Forever, they deeply ridiculed the whole plot-twist mania in the spy genre, by having something like 10 plot-twists occur in a row, completely out of the blue. That was a masterful execution of plot-twisting, if there ever was one.
     
  25. crashbang
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    crashbang Active Member

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    i love plot twists myself. nothing like changing the outlook of a story with a foreshadowing before the bombshell. but i agree, they're not at all vital to a story. besides, what is a twist? im not really sure to be honest. something unexpected?

    if so, it needs to make sense. thus foreshadowing and other things to prepare and not prepare the reader for it. if you know what i mean.
     

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