Plot Twist and Why We Love Them
“Decide today that there’s going to be a plot twist in your life story. Be that twist.”― Toni Sorenson
Surprise... I bet you didn't think that would happen, did you?
"Oh my gosh! Why didn't you tell me that was going to happen at the end of the book?" I love it when a beta reader or any reader, really leaves me a comment with some variation of that question about something of mine they've read. One of my best reviews to date on Amazon is titled An Unexpected Twist. I love that the reader thought they were getting one thing and then; BAM!!! I hit them with the old plot twist.
Not every story has to have a plot twist, I guess but the ones that do are a hell of a lot more fun to read. What is exactly is a plot twist and why are they so effective when executed correctly? According to my goto site for writing information, NY Book Editors, a plot twist "is a surprise development in your story." This writing technique can be used anywhere in the story, and some writers are able to effectively use it repetitively in the same story... keep the readers on their toes.
I Never Know When a Plot Twist is ComingTo be honest, when a plot twist occurs in my writing, I'm almost as surprised as the readers are when they stumble upon the surprise development. I know. Some writers out there say writers who say stuff like that are full of bullshit, but not every writer sits down and charts out their story from beginning to end using some complicated plot diagraming program. I'm more of a pantser instead of a planner. I enjoy being surprised as my characters reveal themselves and their motives to me. It's not like I don't have an idea about who and what they are to the overall plot; it's just that I'm not always sure how they will interact with each other and other situations as they come into contact throughout the course of writing.
Why Readers Love Amazing Plot TwistsKind of like in real life. I may have a vague idea of who a person is and know a little about their personality and what they do in some aspects of their lives, but it doesn't mean I can predict how I'm going to interact with them when placed in a different situation than we're used to being in together. In that way, the more organic plot twists that tend to show up in my writing mimic real life; that is to say, it unfolds in layers as interactions deepen and situations change. If you knew every surprise development that would happen in your personal life... if you could somehow predict each and every plot twist laid out for you; would you want to let it happen or would you work to try to change it or affect it in some way?
Plot Twist Need to Happen OrganicallyAs a writer, I have a general idea where I want my characters to start their journey, and a general idea of where I want their journey to end, because like our birth and death dates; it's what takes place in the middle that really matters. If I can't make the journey with my characters and be as surprised as they are when shit hits the fan; then my readers won't be able to lose themselves in the journey either. And that's why people love reading fiction, right? Trading in their life for the lives of people who only exist in the pages of their favorite novel. An escape from the reality of work, bills, family problems, money issues, lack of great sex... you name it, people need an escape.
Writers Are Looking for an Escape, too.Every time I sit down to write a piece of fiction, I'm escaping reality for the two or ten hours I get to lose myself in my characters and their fascinating lives. In truth, the joy I find in the creative process of writing is just how organic it is. I could not imagine sitting down and plotting everything out for my novels; not that there's anything wrong with doing it that way, but I also can't imagine sitting down and planning my entire life out like some Elon Musk convert. It's just not in me to live, work, or play that way. And I don't care about that saying, those who fail to plan must plan to fail. Who even said that anyway? [I looked it up. It was Benjamin Franklin; the same man who through his satirical essay introduced the idea of daylight saving time] I'll not be listening to his sage wisdom, he could've been writing another satire when he wrote those planning and failing words 😂.
I digress. Back to what I was saying before Ben hijacked my brain with his frivolity. Yes, it's important to plan somethings but in reality, one can't plan for everything that may happen in life and writing in the organic fashion I choose to creates a more natural rhythm of ups and downs for both myself and my characters. And nothing makes me happier than hearing myself say out loud as I am writing, " Oh my fucking God! I did not see that coming!"
****If you want to rep your love plot twist in your favorite fictional reads, check out this great design in my shop by clicking on the hoodie.***
Remember, life is a journey and when the Universe sprinkles Her wisdom along your path, be grateful. Live one enchanted moment at a time and stay present. Until next time; be brave, be beautiful, and be enchanting.