April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022, and part #4 was published July 11, 2022.. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:
1. Drafting the plot
2. Finding a motive
3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist
4. Finding the perfect location
5. Thinking of plot twists
6. Create side characters
[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]
Today we are looking into ‘plot twists’. When I looked at that ‘phrase’ I had to laugh loudly. Now, there are as many plot twists as there are stories. And, of course, I am unable to mention all plot twists today, or ever, when it comes to that. Important at this point is, that our story, in fact, has a plot twist.
Let me describe it that way: Reading a story without any plot twist is about the same excitement as listeing to someone reading the phone book.
I’d like to start with a simple example: Boy A separates from Girl A, to be together with Girl B. Girl A decides to continue her life without Boy A, despite thinking, he was ‘the One’. While she gets over the separation, she meets Boy B. When Boy A sees her with Boy B, he’s jealous and tries whatever he can to get Girl A back. While trying to do that, he hurts Girl B horribly… – And here it gets thrilling. (Or, it could get thrilling, if it’s done right.) Why don’t we check out different possibilities?
Girl A finds out she was right, and Boy A is ‘the One’ for her. She forgives him, and they get back together… Girl B is hurt, but she understands. Boy B ‘disappears’ from the story, but he has always only been an unimportant side character and nobody misses him…
Girl B is sad, but is contacted by Boy B, and they both get together. A Happy End for both couples is ahead. Additionally, Girl A meets Girl B at the shopping mall and they start talking. They find out, they have quite a few things in common, and they become really great friends.
Boy A and Girl A settle down and work together on their ranch, with huge herds of cattle and they also successfully breed horses, they have two babies, a boy, and a girl. Boy B is a bit disappointed. Girl A would have been perfect for him to settle down, but this wasn’t his path. He composes and sings a really sad song and rides into the sunset. Girl B moves to the next big city and opens a brothel.
Girl B is actually a ‘Mormos’, a cruel supernatural monster, which has to mate with a human, kill him, and give birth to the spawn, before again, disappearing for three centuries, while the spawn spreads evil in the world. Boy A’s jealousy has ended their relationship and she couldn’t fulfill her plans, which makes her kill everybody in the story, including the mermaid and the gargoyle (don’t ask me why, I had no idea they were even in that story)… then she uses Boy B for her purpose, which is ending up really badly, since he’s a werewolf.
Girl A gets back together with Boy A, which leaves Girl B to meet with Boy B, who is actually a serial killer and starts with her… then Boy B goes over to kill a few others on his way to kill Girl A as he had planned all along, Boy A is the only one who can save the girl (and the story, too).
Four characters, five possibilities, only from one simple example. Of course , there are endless possibilities, and I’m sure, if I thought about it somewhat longer, I could come up with a few more examples.
What we have here, at the moment, are five examples, two of them don’t really have a ‘twist’… Romance and ‘Chick Lit’ just go from A to B, nothing exciting or thrilling happens. These stories are, most likely, as lame as watching a fly cleaning itself. (Even though, I’m always under the impression, a fly rubbing its first two legs against each other looks like their incredibly smug about something and I imagine them giggling maliciously, only that the frequence is too high for me to hear… But then, that’s different, and a subject for another time)
What’s important here is, that the story has to take a different turn than what’s ‘expected’ from the reader. Generally, there is nothing wrong with the first and second examples, if it were the real life. Their uncomplicated, easy, and without any further challenges, which we, of course, would want for everybody. But for a reader, it’s the lamest story one can imagine.
We want ‘adventure’, or we want to be scared, or maybe we want to bite our fingernails while reading, because the story is so thrilling, we can barely sit still. We want to cry, to laugh, or to yell, maybe even to scream, but we want to feel something! We want emotions in our book, and we want to read about them and feel them. What would we feel if everything always goes smoothly? Nothing… boredom, mostly. And that’s when our readers say: ‘That book was a waste of my time’… and that’s exactly what we don’t want.
One of the fun parts to write our story is, to add unexpected turns the story takes. Maybe it’s fun, maybe it’s scary, but it has to lead our story into a direction the reader wouldn’t think of… and that’s going to be a good story.
Tell us in the comments, if you have another idea to take Girl A, Boy A, and Girl and Boy B… or if you would like to add something else, when it comes to plot twists? We’re happy to read about your experiences!