1. Sugar and Salt
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    Sugar and Salt New Member

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    Thinking Up Plot Twists,

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sugar and Salt, Aug 26, 2008.

    Just wondering, how do you think up plot twists? I've got the first 4 or so chapters revised, but I sort of go blank after that. And is it okay to get ideas from other novels for plot twists?
     
  2. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Well I... I think I'll call it instinct. I've never given it much thought, but now that I think of it I realize it just comes to me when I plan out the plot. Maybe, if you read a lot, these ideas will get to you easier.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Throw something unexpected at your characters. So unexpected that even YOU weren't expecting it until it pops up in the writing. When I get stuck, I always tend to do that, and get unstuck. And it often leads to sudden twists in the story. Which I guess is good, because when I purposefully set out to write twists, I usually don't do so well. :redface:

    This is why I don't do mysteries.

    Sure you can get ideas for twists from other books (twists aren't copyrighted), but if you copy a very distinctive/original one, readers might notice where you got it from.

    And then there are twists that have become so cliched that they're not really twists anymore. "Egads! You're my long-lost twin??" You have to work REALLY HARD to pull those ones off.
     
  5. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Mine come up almost always out of the blue and blast the whatitz out of any plan I had.

    I'll be happily writing along and a twist will just calmly walk up and punch me in the gut.
    That phrase "what if" gets me in twisty trouble every time -- and I love it.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Beware of twists for the sake of twists. They must be believable, even inevitable when the reader has finished the book and looks back over it.
     
  7. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    Most of the time they just work there way into the story without me having to really think about it.
     
  8. mistressoftheflies
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    mistressoftheflies Member

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    I don't think about creating plot twists, really.
    They just happen. I guess I should be grateful! ;)

    Read a lot, watch a lot of movies; you'll get a feel for plot twists.
     
  9. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    What she said.
     
  10. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    Most plot twists have already been done: see "Red Herring" and "Chekov's Gun" (hee, rhyme :) ... sorry... anyway--) killing off the 'main' character? See Psycho. Have everyone expect the storyteller to make a twist but instead make a twist on a twist (that is, no twist) see The Happening.

    But, I think the more you read books or watch movies or take in any stories with twists, the more you'll get a sense of what makes you go "Ohh... wow!" or slap your forehead and exclaim, "Of course!" and then it can become instinctive.

    Some writers (especially mystery writers, I've heard) write the ending first, and write everything preceding it to conceal that ending. I prefer to make a kind of brainstorm map with the bubbles, or an outline, to keep track of the Easter eggs.

    A twist, in my opinion, needs to come from the story-- an "unthought known". When I'm simply being kept in the dark, then I might be engaged but can't be forehead-slappingly impressed with a something-Surprising-randomly-stuck-in-there. That's why it's a twist, not a mere unfolding-- the fabric was always there, it's just tucked differently.

    Sorry for the ramble... hope that made some kind of sense.
     
  11. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Agreed. I dislike when people refer to Deus Ex Machinas and simple pulled-out of nowhere endings as twists. A twist should be hinted from the start of the book or movie.
     
  12. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    They just happen for me. I develop them as I go on, and as I'm in the end I realize I've put twists too. :p
     
  13. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plot twists just come to me. I guess it requires a lot of thinking.
     
  14. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    In case anyone mistook what I said when I suggested throwing in surprises, the above ("deus ex machina" and "pulled out of nowhere") isn't what I meant at all. The truth is, when I throw surprises at my characters, things even I wasn't aware of when I tossed them into the story, they always tend to fit in with the plot as it has already unfolded and continues to unfold so that it seems to be almost an unconscious process (i. e., the surprise twists are a surprise only to my conscious mind, but they've been there all along, I just didn't notice them). They technically aren't just "pulled out of nowhere"--they're simply pulled out of somewhere I'm not completely aware of.

    This echoes other people's comments that they don't tend to think too hard about twists, the twists just come to them naturally; but the original post was asking for suggestions on how to do this. Not everybody can plan a good twist out from the very beginning; not consciously, at least.
     
  15. Kylo
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    Kylo Member

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    If you want a plot twist, don't use the "I am your father" bit. It's been overdone, as seen in Star Wars (where it came from), Monster Rancher (Mu is Holly's father), Toy Story (Zerg is Buzz Lightyear's father), and in Chibbi Vampire (Karen's best friend's clone is really his father).

    So yeah. A good twist I recently came accross is where one of the villians turned out to be the main character's best friend who was only working for the bad guys because he wanted to go back to his homeworld, and he turns back to good completely.
     
  16. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    Most of the times, it just comes... or else:
    I do it like this: I add something random or drastic (have to be realistic though). Something that even I'm be surprised I wrote. Then I go back through the first few chapters and add hints (but not much) about this "twist" that is coming up in the later chapters. I like to add hints so the "twist" feels more realistic and not some crazy out-of-ordinary idea thrown in there for no reason.
     

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