1. Dreamraider
    Offline

    Dreamraider New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finland

    Unexpected plot twists that seem to make no sense.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dreamraider, Mar 6, 2013.

    It was kind of hard to come up with a good title.

    So, what do you think about a radical plot twist, e.g, where a comrad of the main protagonist suddenly turns out to be the antagonist of the story?
    I'm afraid that it's too far-fetched, but on the other hand, it's unexpected and followed by another plot twist that will explain the traitors lack of motive.

    Plot twist #2 includes the protagonist figuring out that the comrad who betrayed them is being controlled by their team's leader, who had planned this from the beginning.
    But how could the protagonist figure it out, if even the reader had no clue about it?
    To answer that, the writer would've hidden subtle hints throughout the story, but never emphasized or indicated them to be relevant,
    so they were just events and patterns that normally would go unnoticed.
    These hints would reveal to the reader as the story comes closer to its end, when the protagonist explains how he find out the identity of the person behind all of this.

    I'd like to hear your opinion about this.
    Specifically whether you'd be satisfied because you didn't expect it but the hints were always there,
    or disappointed because you never noticed those small hints?
    And by all means, don't just answer this one question. I'd like to hear thoughts about plot twists like these in general too,
    not specifically only about this one.

    I'd be satisfied because I think it was unpredictable. I hate stories where you can predict how it ends before halfway.
    After the explanation, I couldn't believe that the hints were actually there all the time, which would make it even more satisfying.
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Whether or not it works has almost nothing to do with the premise. It's a matter of how well you write it, how well you sell it to the reader.
     
  3. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    If a book can surprise me, and provided it is consistent and makes sense, then i usually feel happy about that. I call them happy accidents. Although what you describe sounds a little like a video game plot twist sequence.
     
  4. cavyboat
    Offline

    cavyboat New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Somewhere close to the ocean
    You have to factor in your target audience and genre. Can you imagine Twilight with these kinds of plot twists?

    Despite all the successful twists, J.K. Rowling made Snape too much of a bad guy, and the "unhealthy relationship" Dumbledore critics too idiotic (granted their relationship was purely mentor/student, but Dumbledore being gay doesn't inherently mean he's a pedophile and "grooming" Harry. I thought Voldemort had killed Dumbledore's wife and kids. I also thought Dumbledore and McGonagall had a romantic history). Snape being a good guy sort of ruined his character, and most kids (the target audience) were utterly shocked when Rowling forced Dumbledore out of the closet.
     
  5. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    Usually i am the first one to bash Harry Potter series, but Snape was one of the best characters i have read in the last decade. Deep, well formed, well rounded, everything the rest was not.
     
  6. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Unexpected plot twist is a good thing - but an unexpected plot twist that, and I quote, "seems to make no sense" is terrible. You cannot have something just SUDDENLY happen because it'd be so cool and so unexpected! If you read Harry Potter and enjoyed it thoroughly and then came the end and the unexpected plot twist was, I dunno, "Harry Potter was actually a giant lizard and Voldemort is the good guy!" - it would certainly be unexpected, but it wouldn't make it good.

    Or a better example my friend likes to use: you go to a cafe and you order scrambled eggs, and instead the waiter delivers a newspaper to you. Sure, it was very unexpected! But would you go back to that cafe? No, not really. Was it a pleasant surprise? Not at all. You wanted scrambled eggs and you're still hungry, now with a newspaper you don't wanna read.

    You need to give your reader a chance to figure it out - this is called foreshadowing. If you do this well, then the readers might notice the hints but not understand it - getting them thinking is good - and then when you reveal the great plot twist, all these pieces should fall into place in the reader's head. It should be a moment of "OF COURSE!!! Why didn't I see this before!?"

    But what it cannot be is this: "Huh? What just happened?"

    Both reactions show you what an unexpected twist could do, and the second reaction is not the one you want. Simply putting something in because it is so unexpected is not a good reason. Put it in because it makes sense to the plot, it is how the story should be and needs to be. Don't put it in just for laughs - when authors do that, and I know they do, it's just annoying and stupid. I read a book once where the unexpected was happening every other page - but none of it was explained, or followed up, or even hinted at beforehand - and in the end it was just stupid, so I stopped reading about half way through. It was too obviously a case of the author going "Well wouldn't this be fun?" You need to give the reader things to follow and think about.
     
  7. iolair
    Offline

    iolair Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Exeter, UK
    I think the best plot twists are the ones where you think "Oh, I should have spotted that!"
    So, if you've just written a big plot twist, you then need to go back to earlier parts of the story and weave in little, subtle clues to what's happening - the signs need to have been there. So, it's a huge surprise but it makes sense.
     
  8. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,238
    Likes Received:
    1,806
    Location:
    Australia
    The best plot twists are a total surprise but make perfect sense.
     
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    My story has this plot twist. A minor ally turns out to be the main villain and the love interest as one of villain's henchmen. It's pretty dramatic writing, it's easy to make it overtly dramatic, but it can be done well.
     
  10. Keitsumah
    Offline

    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    3,279
    Likes Received:
    285
    Location:
    Nebraska
    yep, i just had that kind of moment when i see a plot twist that makes sense but as i am in writer's block i groan and don't want to do it.

    Good thing my common sense overcomes my laziness. Now i just need to figure out how to introduce the twist . . .
     
  11. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    How long did it take you to realise Princess Lea was Luke's sister? How did you feel?

    My story has a twist like yours that only surfaces at the end and hopefully my reader's will go "shit - should have seen that" because if they go back over the book, they'll see it was pretty obvious as in all the signs were there

    Well hopefully anyway!
     
  12. Dreamraider
    Offline

    Dreamraider New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finland
    The title must've been a bit misleading; The twist is unexpected, and at first doesn't seem to make any sense, but the clues are are there, like I said:
    Agreed.
     
  13. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    Enter every 'plot twist' from Bleach

    My opinion is going to be through juxtaposition here. Compare Bleach and Silent Hill 2.

    Bleach plot twists are among the "because I said so" variety and are infuriating ( will NEVER EVER EVVVVVERRR forgive that Aizen plotline)
    Silent Hill 2 plot twists are insane but at the same time all have to do with the human hearts darkest corners. While the plot twists didn't make much sense they kind of did because in a town that's completely screwed up a couple loose screws won't bother you. (See the 'Dog' ending)

    If there's an overlying reason as to why it would still makes sense then a nonsensical plot twist is within reason, but if you're doing it just to move the story along without giving any sort of overlying reason you are Taite Kubo and therefor must be burned at the stake errr I mean you are confusing your readers and may frustrate them over your work and could damage their opinion of the plot (See The Dark Knight Rises) until you give some sort of explanation. People don't like things that aren't explained.
     
  14. murasaki_sama
    Offline

    murasaki_sama Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    In the depths of my own mind.
    Oh look, its you again! I just commented on your intro thread, and I then I come over here and start reading a new thread...and see that it is by you as well! Fancy that.

    Anyway, plot twists.

    Personally, my plot twists tend to surprise me as much as any one else; even when I include foreshadowing. That is a whole other issue though.

    Have you ever read or heard of the The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner? I ask because she is, in my opinion, one of the best masters of plot twists in ...just...she's a master. The first book in the story is written in first person - and yet still manages to reasonable conceal a vital fact that, once revealed, completely changes the story. I've read the first two or three books about...five or six times now, and I am still finding new, clever, subtle little acts of foreshadowing. The plot twist in the second book is such a huge shock, very much a "radical plot twist" and yet, again, with the foreshadowing, it makes perfect sense. Its beautiful. I suggest you read the books, 1) because they are awesome, and 2) because they are a good way to study foreshadowing and unexpected plot twists in action, and 3) they are super awesome.

    To me, a plot twists is only a twist if it is unexpected. Sometimes the twist seems obvious after it is revealed, other times it needs a bit more explanation after the fact. If it still seems unreasonable with foreshadowing clues and some follow up explanation, it is probably not a good idea. If, however, it becomes reasonable/believable with those clues and that explanation, then go for it! Points if adds more tension to the plot.
     
  15. Dreamraider
    Offline

    Dreamraider New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finland
    Never heard. I don't really have time for reading since I have so much other stuff going on, even though I procrastinate with that stuff too.

    The first book, "The Thief" seems to be available in a library here. I'll see if I can get myself to borrow and read it.
     
  16. rodereve
    Offline

    rodereve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    The best plot twists are the stories that hint a twist is coming and point in one direction the entire time, and then pull an immediate 180 at the last second. So you're expecting a cliche, and then hit with something non-cliche. Almost every movie or book I watch, I've been conditioned to expect a plot twist, to spot the bad guy. So when you make the good guy (protagonist) the bad guy (antagonist), I'd love to see that twist, but hurry because its slowly becoming the CLICHE haha One of my favorite books *SPOILER*

    had that plot twist, Agatha Christie's Curtain, because it was an entire book series with a crime detective, he solved all the crimes well in every book, up until the last book, where the killer didnt actually kill anyone, but made people kill each other (IIRC), so the detective took it upon himself to kill the killer because he knew he couldn't find anything incriminating. I never saw it, a mile away.
     

Share This Page