Writing Twists?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how high would you rate your ability to write plot twists, and why?

For me, I'd probably give myself a 6, maybe a 7 if I was being generous. I always try to incorporate two or three good plot twists into my stories, but I never rely on them. I try to keep the plot interesting and engaging enough that the twists are a bonus, not the main reason people read them.

-5. I am way too impatient and I can't plot my way out of a paper bag.

I generally choose not to do the major twists angle, at least not on a regular basis. It's the tool of writing intended to be a serial. I intend to write novels.

I don't know. I think it's more for my readers to rate me?

Of course, it's kind of hard to avoid twists when all your characters are either lying about themselves, or lying to themselves. I try to leave enough hints and foreshadowing to build things up, though. I hate twists for the sake of twists, especially when they're pulling out of nowhere to "surprise the audience". I much prefer (as both a writer and a reader) twists that bring new insight on what came before. Ones where, upon re-reading, you notice the build-up, or where foreknowledge of the twist causes previous events to take on new meaning.

I agree with you, Dary. The best twists are the ones that you slap your head after it happens and say, "How did I not see that coming?" The only ones I can remember being that good were in Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson and Wreck-It Ralph. Then again, I've found that I have a gift for guessing plot twists before they happen, so maybe I'm not the best one to judge how surprising it is, lol.

At the risk of hubris, I'd give myself at least an 8. Mostly because I don't always know where I'm going with something, so if the reader can guess what will happen before even *I* know, that's saying something. (Note I don't "deus ex machina" - it IS possible to figure me out, as I generally try to pull on a thread from earlier, rather than tie it up nicely.) Granted, I'm talking average; for every few "9"s, there's probably one that a reader is shaking their head about and calling a "4".

If all my previous writing is any indication... I'm a fan of a twist for the audience and protagonist. Something that changes the way you look at the character and previous events. That is the missing key to all the earlier plot-points, and informs the very end and how you should feel. It's always where I start when I'm coming up with a project, and always where I end. I've never written any event-driven stories. Instead, I suppose I've opted for the mystery box, though I've yet to read up on the exact definition.

I'm prone to thinking that the very way storytelling works is through the withholding and divesting of information. Twists are when done right, a very important part of all works. One incorporates them as the dark point near the end for maximum effect. My philosophy is a lot of build up towards that moment. Everything points towards it, from the get-go.

Ideally, I'd want somebody to tell me I'm a 9 or 10, but I'm still waiting for an in-depth review :P

I'm going to rate myself a solid '1' on plot twists, or is that just my untrustworthy narrator talking? To echo, in part, what mathtans said, there are times when my characters surprise me by doing the unexpected. So I'll rate them a solid '8'... lol. I have been known to drop the occasional 'red herring' along the way and I do love misdirection ;)

I'm a pantser, so my 'twists' are really just last minute ideas that overcome me while writing a chapter. They surprise me, too! I do plan some twists long term, but they always start with an idea that just kind of comes out of nowhere.

I have one that I laid out about a year ago when I first started the series - that will finally become apparent next month...so we'll see how off guard it catches people. I told my wife about it ahead of time and she went 'wait, what? WHAT? WHAT THE HELL?' or something there abouts. So I guess she didn't see it coming...

Like Chry said - there are some twists that show up as you're writing the chapter and aren't expected. They're factors from outside that were never considered ahead of time, character personalities you have to work into the scene.

What I always detest are writing out long convoluted portions and not realizing one of your characters would have solved it in two clicks - and should have - but you missed it. If you're like me and writing chapter to chapter - these things can be aggravating to find out later. I imagine it must drive readers insane too if they even notice.

I would ask those following this thread - how far ahead do you try to lay down 'plot twists' or 'sudden scenario changes'? Is it a few months before you write the scene? The day before? Are you trying to work in hints ahead of time to smooth out the 'new situation'?

0 because I'm too straightforward and not clever enough. Plus. I've not written a story that'll benefit from a plot twist.

@FrustradedEgo, depends on the story for me. I knew from the beginning who the masked villain was in Juryokine, but when I started The Slayer and the Sphinx, I didn't plan for Porter to lose his memory, that just sort of happened, lol. And it completely shaped where the story went after that!

I'm giving myself a '5' for the same reason as Chrysalis...I don't really plan most of them, so "coming up with twists" is a matter of looking back at my past work and thinking of unexpected ways everything could fit together. They usually turn out pretty well, but I'd be lying if I said I was great at planning them, haha