You know at the end of the last Indiana Jones film. Just as the film is headed up towards the climax and you’re about to see where the whole movie is been going and then suddenly aliens appear?
For me, this is the very best example of a poorly executed plot twist.
See I love Indiana Jones. I was all about the beating up Nazis, running away from large boulders and the like. It was awesome.
Then the final fifteen to ten minutes of the Crystal Skull happened and I was left thinking, uh… okay…
Plot twists. I love them. That super fun game of toying with your audience and making them think one thing when at the very last second your surprise them with something completely different? Love it.
Plot twists are really useful components to a memorable story.
In saying this, they can be difficult to implement.
So what is the difference between a genuinely awesome ‘WOW-I-Did-Not-See-That-Coming!’ and ‘Okay… Indiana Jones and Aliens? What the Heck?’
There are probably a million components. But there is one I think carries the most weight.
There is one component that I think really carves into people’s hearts and adds a real point of difference.
This is connectivity.
How connected is your plot twist to the concept of the story? What is the relationship? Identifying the relationship between the plot twist and what has unfolded before.
Often I see plot twists as making a bed. You don’t just put the blanket over the top you tuck it in. There’s a tuck in to the story. By this I mean that the thing that you’ve done to surprise your readers isn’t completely out of the blue. That there is a pattern to look back at. Threads between what happened in the end that surprised people, that connect back and make it seem IMPOSSIBLE that we didn’t see it before. It is then about showing little knots of this thread through your story through events that can be interpreted as one thing (what you WANT readers to see) and can also be interpreted as another (when readers REALLY see what happened)
It’s about connectivity.
Anyway, plot twists are a total favorite of mine. Also! Sorry I was noticeably absent from posting last week! I recently got engaged and my mind was in a million places and not one of these writing related!