Why are plot twists important in storytelling?

In this post, we go over why plot twists are important in storytelling.

The unexpected turn of events is the author's version of magic in the story. A deft turn of the wrist, a whiff of smoke, and presto! We bring something into view or take it out of view. The art of the twist requires skill and practice to be performed successfully, much like a mesmerizing magic trick would. Like magicians, writers have specialized equipment that helps them do their jobs.

It's the point in the tale where everything changes unexpectedly. At this point in the story, there is a shift in how the game is played and an increase in the stakes. Most individuals enjoy a twist because it enlivens the narrative and makes the conclusions less foreseeable. A twist may be humorous, tragic, frightening, or romantic, but it must, above all else, fulfill the audience's expectations.

9 Tips for Storytelling Plot Twists

The following is a list of nine literary devices that authors draw from when crafting a twist and why it’s very important in plot twists

1. Chekhov’s Gun

Checkov's gun describes the technique that authors use when they introduce a new character or aspect of the plot at the beginning of a story but don't reference it until much later in the narrative.

As a result, the reader is forced to rethink their perspective of the action after the appearance of this character or plot element again.

For instance, in the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, the protagonist obtains a small rock hammer at the beginning of the film that initially seems unimportant.

Still, we later find out that it is what he used to escape from prison.

2. The Plant

A "plant," in the sense of something intentionally concealed to be found, can be anything from a person to a piece of property. It makes multiple appearances throughout the narrative, but the reader does not understand its significance until the very end of the story.

For example, in the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, the author makes numerous allusions to stones throughout the narrative.

However, the significance of these allusions is unclear to the reader until they understand the lottery's mechanics.

3. Red Herring

Something that distracts the reader and leads them away from the actual truth is known as a red herring. It causes them to arrive at incorrect conclusions, which causes them to be taken aback when the truth is revealed.

In works of mystery and crime fiction, authors frequently employ the device of the red herring, in which, for example, an innocent person is portrayed as guilty.

4. Poetic Justice

I have a feeling that we all adore these various kinds of conclusions.

When it comes to poetic justice, a character is either "saved" because of the virtues they possess or punished because of the vices they exhibit.

The protagonist of Roald Dahl's The Visitor meets an unfortunate end when, after befriending a man in the desert and meeting the man's beautiful wife and daughter, he has sexual relations with one of the women. Still, he is unsure with whom he is having those relations. This leads to the protagonist's downfall.

The protagonist eventually comes to terms with the gravity of his mistake when his new acquaintance admits that he has a second daughter, who he has been keeping a secret because she has leprosy.


5. Anagnorisis or Discovery

When the protagonist has a revelation about their nature or identity, or the nature or identity of another character, this literary device is utilized.

For example, in the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King, the protagonist has to face his demons while fending off a psychopath, only to find out that he and the psychopath is the same person and that he has been the one causing his problems.

This leads to the protagonist realizing that he has been the cause of his problems.

6. Analepsis or Flashback

A flashback is a device used in storytelling that brings to light information that the author had previously withheld from the reader. This frequently alters the reader's perception of the events or characters in the story.

Flashbacks are common and reveal new information that impacts the progression of events and how they are interpreted.

When writing a story, one must be careful to differentiate between a flashback and a memory.

One must ask themselves: Is this how the event occurred or is it how the character remembers it?

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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