What are Twists–Those used in writing stories, that is.

Thursday, June 2nd 2011:
QUESTION: Writing scenes(Part One): How would you define a ‘twist’? Do you use a twist in every scene or just at the end of the book? Question provided by affiliate author L. P Robinson  (Part one, part two is next week!) 
I have read many twists in the thousands of books and short stories I’ve read down through my lifetime and those that have twists–when a character decides to do something the reader is not expecting–are those that seem to me to be the most enjoyable.

I used to think twists came only at the end of the story, but now I’m learning they vary in punch power and other strengths and may not even look like a common place twist at all.

To write a twist one simply needs to set up the scene and at the point where the character makes a decision such as whether to go or stay, whether to kill or not kill, whether to play or run, the writer simply chooses the character to do what the reader least expects.

Having written that, I can now say, Holly Lisle, that I do believe I’ve finally learned how to write a twist. Thank you.

Mind you, the twist better come off as quite possible or else you will lose your reader for sure.

The strongest twist would surely be at the end of the story–a punch that won’t allow the reader to forget it is what I’m aiming for in my stories.

About lprobinson64

I have been writing short stories for 25 years and am now working on my first novel. Besides writing, I love to read a great variety of genres with crime/mystery/fantasy being at the top. Dean Koontz is my favorite author, but there are so many more I can't list them all. I also like to crochet, sew, and do many kinds of crafts. Being a retired school teacher sure helps me find the time for all my favorite activities. Can't understand why people don't like retirement. It is a good time to follow a new dream.
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3 Responses to What are Twists–Those used in writing stories, that is.

  1. Amy R says:

    There should be different names for different twists I think. Rating levels like tornado’s. An F5 Twist is a blow apart everything you have written thus far leaving the reader looking around in shock for the next chapter! An F4 twist could be the one that makes the jaw drop and a gasp. F3 twist is the one where we say “No Way, Come again?”. The F2 twist is the “oh now what are you doing? Damn it and you things were going so well.” The F1 twist is the meekest of the five, the twist that prompts a furrowed brow and a scratch of the head.
    What do you think? Should we create a Twist Meter??? LOL!
    Awesome post, thanks for sharing!

  2. Cher Green says:

    Great post.

    Amy – a Twist Meter – I like. 🙂

    Cher Green

  3. Brilliant post, Lu! Yes, we should get a Twist Meter – totally agree! LOL 😀

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