The genre I read the most is mystery/thriller, and almost all of these books typically contain at least one dramatic plot twist that changes the complexion of the story.
Some twists are brilliantly revealed and feel as dramatic as they are intended to be, but others have felt underwhelming, so here is a list of things which I think twists need to be in order to have the desired effect.
I guess this one sounds quite obvious, but I have come across several twists that I was able to predict in advance. Any upcoming twist should be very well concealed with perhaps the most subtle of hints, just to ensure that when it happens, the reader has not seen it coming and is genuinely surprised.
At the same time, twists should still be believable and feel true to the story. If it relies too much on coincidences or a plot that seems contrived, it is much less effective.
A lot of thrillers follow a pattern of containing a major twist in the middle, and then another one towards the end of the book. I have loved it when a twist in the middle has made me view a story in a totally different way to what I had before, allowing the plot to unravel and the tension to escalate.
This kind of twist cannot arrive too early, as first the story needs to establish its concept and its characters. Meanwhile, I feel any twist that takes place towards the end should still leave enough time for a strong resolution where all of the loose ends are tied up.
For me, one of the most important aspects of a plot twist is how it is written. The choice of words that help to build the intrigue, the posing of questions that the reader becomes increasingly desperate to discover the answers to; maybe the use of cliffhangers at the end of a previous chapter.
All of these things can help make sure that the twist has a powerful impact on the reader, especially when they already feel a connection to the story. If it seems hurried or unsubstantiated, then it can come across as confusing rather than fulfilling.
Do you think these things help make strong plot twists? Is there anything you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading 🙂