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Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Jun 15, 2015 5:28:08 AM

We all want to sneak up on a reader, to give them an unexpected turn in a tale that leaves them floored, emotionally spent and elated all at once. It's what's known as a twist in the publishing biz, and it's a target that is hard to hit.


There's no magic formula for setting up a plot to end in a twist. The most obvious piece of advice I've received over the years is to avoid just that, the obvious. But, as I have learned writing and rewriting book after book, it's not that simple. Writing a twist takes a great deal of finesse. Here are some general rules of thumb to observe as you construct your grand twist.


  1. It can't come out of the blue: You can't expect your readers to accept the unexpected unless there's a logical path that has been secretly leading them to that conclusion. Revealing Bill as the killer only works if he has had some role in the story other than the killer. If Bill only shows up in the last chapter to claim the mantel of murderer, that's not much of a twist. If Bill plays a minor role and makes frequent innocuous appearances throughout the story, casting him as the killer could be a welcomed surprise.

  2. Temper the foreshadowing: Making it obvious that the perpetrator possesses special knowledge that only a skilled outdoorsman would know is fine, but referring to someone's role as an Eagle Scout as nonessential information to their role in the story is a dead giveaway that he will, in the end, be the guilty party. Some foreshadowing is necessary, but too much dilutes your twist.

  3. Avoid the obvious: I know I just said it's not that simple, and it's not, but avoiding the obvious is still a piece of the "twist" puzzle. As you develop your plot, come up with the most obvious ending to your story. Write it down. Keep it near your computer. Read it every day as a reminder of the route you don't want to take.

  4. Some people won't see it coming, others will: You aren't going to surprise everyone, and you'll most likely hear from either extreme of the twist spectrum. People who were totally surprised will be eager to seek you out and let you know. Unfortunately, people who weren't surprised at all will do the same thing. People love to be surprised almost as much as they love to be right.


Twists are lovely little story devices. The best way to master the art of the unexpected is to read as much as you can and write even more.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Jan 17, 2018 2:34 AM jiya123    says:

Many people are interested in reading books. Try to make the book interesting for the readers to read. Give some twists and suspense so that people will be excited to the read the book until the end. People love to read books that are adventurous and exciting too. Trinity Builders Reviews

Apr 9, 2018 4:14 AM ovita    says:

When we read, we are still. We get comfortable. Most people sit while reading. Our bodies do not carry any special movements, they rest. The breathing slows down. We calm down. We imagine ourselves the worlds or situations described by words in the book. While reading we cannot think of other tasks or worries.Dance floor rentals

Apr 12, 2018 2:22 AM hellenrose    says:

What is the twist which you have mentioned here? I got interested to know more about it. Could you please update it as soon as possible? I am eagerly waiting for your updated post to know it. Thank you. printer driver is unavailable

Jun 28, 2018 2:47 AM LeeWilliam    says:

Yeh, his right you should describe it a little bit more so that people will really know your point about this topic.

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Aug 9, 2018 1:01 AM Mellissabarton    says:

Can you tell more about the "Twsist", as it sounds interesting. If you want to make the book interesting how would you do so?

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