Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing a Twist

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! It's the start of a brand new week and I'd like to take this time to talk about excitement and twists when writing a novel. Today, we'll be talking about writing a twist. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps I'll go into The Switch and how to do it. We'll see. Get your pens and notebooks ready, it promises to be an interesting few days.

Writing a twist is surprising your reader with something unexpected. There can be little foreshadowing when writing a proper twist in a story. Your readers need to say, "I did not see that coming!" Whether it makes them laugh, gasp, or drop their jaw in horror, the reveal of your twist needs to be the two punch. If you can make it come out at the end of a chapter that's even better! It makes your reader turn the page.

Now, for you readers out there: Have you come across a book that slapped you with the two punch when you least expected it? Did it leave you satisfied?

I read three books like that last year. Two of them were part of the Canopy series by Crystal Lee. When I wrote that just now I realized I mentioned her last week, too. Funny how some authors stick in your head, eh? Anywho, the third was by Robert Chazz Chute titled Bigger Than Jesus. I gave it five stars on Amazon and Goodreads because it was funny, fun, well written, and had twists and turns I never saw coming. The perspective was unusual (2nd person) but I found it kept me engaged in the story and was a perfect choice.

Notice these books stayed with me because of the twists. Others stayed for other reasons but we're talking about twisty novels here. Let's not digress, mkay? Think of only those novels that surprised you with a turn in the plot you didn't see coming and I'll do the same. Yes, this was me catching myself.

In the first chapter of Bigger Than Jesus, I got the first twist. It came at me like a Mike Tyson right hook, was perfectly placed in the storyline, and kept me going on to chapter 2 to see what happened next. It wasn't until the last chapter of Canopy book 1 that Ms. Lee gave me the twist and I was left with my jaw on the floor when I realized the truth and waiting anxiously for book 2. It wasn't just a cliffhanger; it was a shove off the damned cliff and I was left hurtling toward the ground at breakneck speeds. Good thing she writes fast! I now await book 3 because book 2 did the same freaking thing! Arghhhhhhh!

A plot twist must be planned as you think out your novel in order for it to work well. Writing in a plot twist on the fly rarely works. I'm not saying it never works; don't get in a tizzy. I'm saying it rarely works. When it's inserted on the fly, you usually end up needing to go back and change other things for it to work properly in your story line. If that's okay with you, no biggie. If you're one of those that can't change things to make a super awesome plot twist make sense later, don't do it.

Remember, a plot twist isn't the same thing as a character twist. A plot twist changes the whole plot of the book. Character twists only change who done it.

Have you written a most excellent plot twist lately? Read one? Let's hear about it!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

6 comments:

  1. I agree with you, definitely don't write a twist on the fly, you should know beforehand so the rest of the novel makes sense.

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    1. Twists aren't something to be taken lightly :) We'll see how you like the super twisty twist in The Bird and if you saw it coming :)

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  2. I find little more satisfying than a well-executed twist. Part of me demands a twist in a short story, but I consider it a sweet (usually fulfilling) bonus in longer works. Aside from Twilight Zone episodes, my favorite twist was the ending of The Sixth Sense. Unless you saw it coming (which some claim they did) it was an unparalleled, most satisfying "aha!" moment. It just has to make perfect sense and not rob you of everything you experienced getting to it.

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    1. Hiya, Jeff! Wow. Your comment got me thinking about M Night Shyamalan and how many twisted movies he's done. I always love the surprise that's waiting at the end and rarely can I figure it out before it slaps me upside the head :) I watched each of his movies twice just so I could pick up on the clues :) Thanks for igniting my memory!

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  3. I don't think I've got it in me to write a plot twist.

    By the way, I received the postcards and bookmarks you kindly sent me as part of the giveaway you did on 18th December.

    They are AWESOME, and I like snuggling up to them during these cold winter nights.

    Thank you.

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    1. Sure you do!! I read Underneath, btw. Review to come in a few days :) That was one hell of a book; but not one I would take to snuggle on a cold winter night - unless I was dying to pee my pants with fear. :) Thanks for stopping by and for the comment, Michael!

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