Monday, July 21, 2014

The Thing about Plot Twists

Ah. Plot twists. Evil authors. When everything is turning out to be okay. You can finally breathe again because it looks like they all made it out alive. But then...

The most innocent character gets stabbed out of nowhere. (Yes, I read a book like this once. So heartbreaking.)

Plot twists are hard to write. You can't just say, "I'll do the most unexpected thing!" Uh, no. You have to have a plan. No one can expect it. At the same time, it must be believable. I'm going to try to keep it as vague as I can, but this post will contain some mild spoilers from books I've read.

I was reminded of the brilliancy of plot twists when I finished By Darkness Hid, which I highly recommend. Oh wow. Let's just say... I did not see that coming. A book can have more than one plot twists, but there's always a big one that leaves the reader screaming, "WHAT?"

The big plot twists usually are two kind of happenings:

1. The truth turns out to be a lie. (Legend)
2. The truth changes. (Mocking Jay)

 The plot twist in Legend is that the government actually killed the important people in the main character's life. What was believed is a lie. However, in Mocking Jay, it's different. Brainwashed by the Capital, Peeta hates Katniss now and wants to kill her. Before this, it was well-known that Peeta loved Katniss. The truth changes.

Do you see the difference? As I said before, it must be believable. Peeta being brainwashed by the Capital and wanting to murder Katniss is believable. No one saw it coming in a million years. But the Capital is cruel and deadly, plus they hate Katniss. It makes sense that they would do something so unbelievably horrible.

To make sure the reader doesn't see the plot twist coming, constantly remind them of the lie or the changeable truth. That's one of the reasons I would have never seen the plot twist in By Darkness Hid coming. Up until the truth was revealed, the lie was in my face. I didn't see an alternative.

In a way, plot twists symbolize what life is. We might think we got it all figured out, but then something comes out of nowhere, throwing us off our game. They also remind us that God is in control and He has a reason for everything.
Francesca Battistelli's album, My Paper Heart, actually was one of the first things that got me into music. This is one of my favorite songs from the album.

1 comment:

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