Hello Writer Bugs!
Need to shake up your story? Send your readers on a wild rollercoaster ride with a good ol’ fashioned plot twist. That’s right, kiddos, in the spirit of MayOf Mystery, we are going to talk about plot twists. Think about it. Every great mystery story has at least one plot twist that leaves the audience gasping in surprise and shock. Let’s break down some tips and tricks to incorporate plot twists into your stories.
Foreshadowing is Everything
Dropping breadcrumbs of information is crucial. Basically, foreshadowing is about dropping small clues in the beginning that become something much bigger later on. Hand your character one clue and have that piece of information develop into something else. In terms of a mystery, the briefest mention could turn into a crucial piece of evidence. How does this handkerchief left at the crime scene tie to the murderer?
If done right, the reader can reread the story and pinpoint the clues hinting the big reveal. However, be careful of foreshadowing too much, making a surprise reveal predictable. If that happens, consider deleting some of the hints, so your plot twist is more of a shock.
Redirect with Red Herrings
For good measure, toss a couple of Red Herrings into the pot. What is a red herring, you ask? By definition, it is a phrase that means “something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.” Think of it like giving the reader a wrong answer, which in turn, leads them to a false assumption. A piece of info that sets them on a path to nowhere. Redirect their attention and keep them guessing.
For a mystery, have the detective follow evidence they believe is true. Then, turn the tables on your own characters and have them react to the evidence being false. A dead end, so to speak.
Eliminate the Obvious
Not sure what kind of plot twist can be added to your story? Try brainstorming a list of every possible, obvious thing that could happen. Then, throw that list away. Plot twists should come out of left field and be completely unexpected. There’s no fun in a predictable plot twist.
Make the reader, and the characters feel certain about something. “This is definitely the murder weapon. This was how the victim was killed.” If you assure them that there is only one possibility, them tricking them will be easier. When things aren’t as they appeared to be, that’s when heads start to spin.
Plot Twists as a Plot Device
A moment of surprise in your story can be a powerful tool for any writer. Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying for a author than pulling the rug out from under the reader. Just grabbing their assumptions and flipping them upside down. All in all, be aware of the clues you choose to show your reader, and wait for the right moment to make your big reveal. That is the key to any plot twist.
Talk to me, Writer Bees
What are your favorite plot twists in fiction? And what’s one surprise reveal you’ve written in your stories? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you guys.
May the plot twists you write be extra twisty.
Write with Heart,