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#atozchallenge : T is for Twists and Turns: #fiction #writing #quotes

Theme:  Quotes from Authors and Bookish People about Writing

Three weeks of intense blogging, that’s what the A to Z challenge has been about so far. How many posts did you schedule in advance? Did you follow a theme? Did you wing it?

I scheduled most of the content for the posts on this blog, other than these greetings. I check in each day and click ‘Publish’ after checking if everything is ok. On Daily (w)rite, I’m writing a story a day, though I’ve often dreamt about them this month, mostly when awake!

And, if you haven’t visited them yet, please go say hi to my co-hosts who made this challenge possible: Lee, Alex, Tina, Jeremy, Nicole, Heather, AJMJ,  Pam and Stephen!

If you’ve been to their blogs, I have for you yet another topic for discussion on Fiction: Twists!  Twists in a story leave a reader gasping, and make them wonder why they didn’t see it before. 

There is no formula for devising a great twist, because every plot is
different and any number of things can work in a story. My trick for
twisting my plot is pretty simple: Reader expectations…You want to give readers what they expect, but not in the way they expect it. —
Janice Hardy
 
 Try to think of what, within that fundamental situation, could go surprisingly wrong, yet seem believable and reasonable,
within that context, when it happens…Your twist must satisfy and
improve upon what it substitutes for, not just change it to something
else.
— Ansel Dibell

A plot twist is basically an unexpected direction that the narrative takes.  They are designed to keep the reader guessing, to maintain a level of interest and atmosphere, and to move the story in a new direction – in other words it helps maintain the momentum of the story and helps to move it forward. Plot twists are also useful for wrong footing the reader by making them think something might happen in a certain way, when in fact the complete opposite takes place and thus it surprises them.  The idea is to make the reader comfortable with the story, and then change direction.  This ploy keeps them turning the page. — A J Humpage

Look for events, developments, and twists that work in two or more ways at once,
or that have multiple implications, meanings, or consequences. These
can be among the most powerful elements in any piece of fiction.
— Scott Edelstein

Good twists are enormously hard to come by, and I think the best ones are earned ones. The idea that a story can take a left turn on you, it’s easy to do, but it has to be done very, very carefully, or else you risk losing the audience’s trust.–Damon Lindelof


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Do you love plot twists as a reader? As a writer do you try to raise questions in the minds of the reader, then answer them? How do you plan twists?

(Lee, Alex, Tina, Jeremy, Nicole, Heather, AJMJ,  Pam and Stephen!) – See more at: http://amloki.blogspot.sg/#sthash.1Wkr4ZpO.dpuf
(Lee, Alex, Tina, Jeremy, Nicole, Heather, AJMJ,  Pam and Stephen!) – See more at: http://amloki.blogspot.sg/#sthash.1Wkr4ZpO.dpuf
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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22 Comments

  • Last year I was an apprentice on a steep learning curve even though I had been blogging. This year by April 1, I had all my posts in a queue allowing me to read over 500 blogs so far. Leaving comments, trying to be nice on blogs that fail to deliver…no comment box, impossible to read etc. I have carefully selected fabulous blogs I am now following. I set April aside to do it right this year, and it has paid off with stats improving etc. (87-144 followers as of this AM.) This blog is a great example of one I now follow with helpful ideas/quotes that I love. It remains to be seen if the #Challenge sold any books, but worth every minute regardless. There is a twist in my second novel if I can ever get back to writing it and quit playing on social media.

  • I have had my theme "A to Z of Diseases" and had a fair number pre-written, although the last week has been more written the day before and scheduled to post at 12:01 am central time (so it is not as far off from the bloggers on the other side of the world. A number of my posts have had twists and turns since they are based on the diseases of family and friends with their stories. Life is full of twists and turns, but as someone else said in the comments, sometimes it is hard to see them when you are in them! Hopefully, I will be able to keep up with writing at least twice a week going forward, but we shall see how the twists and turns of life help that out. I have gained a great number of followers since April 1st and have a lot more comments than before, but there are still many days with no comments. Hopefully, that will pick up! πŸ™‚

  • I am writing nonfiction right now but yes I do try to creativly place the scenes so that the reader keeps guessing even if they already know the outcome.
    doreenmcgettigan.com

  • cifar shayar says:

    twists and turns makes a story interesting,it is because of them that a simple story becomes a great story.

    U for Unusual Demand

  • I love a good twist but if I know there is one it spoils it for me because I'm always trying to work it out instead of focusing on the story!

  • I had never attempted the A to Z before, so had no idea what it would be like. In preparation I listed five themes I felt capable of using for the challenge: Natural History, Writing, Military life, Relationships, and Music.
    It took three days before I decided on 'writing', but I'm pleased I did, because it seems to have gone well, and my followers have increased dramatically. I had re-vamped and re-started my blog from scratch in January 2014 and only had a couple of followers, and now I have 70.
    To get my head around the theme and mentally prepare me, I listed the alphabet and assigned a 'working' word to each letter. Since then, very few have been amended.
    On twists, I like them as a reader. As a writer, I'm only days away from e-publishing my first collection of 12 short stories – and they all have twists; enough said.
    Another great post.

    • D Biswas says:

      Tom, I'm so glad the AZ boosted your blog– that's what we as cohosts hope for when we work on the challenge. Your posts, as I've told you before, should be collected in a book :)– look forward to your collection!

  • For the A-Z challenge, I spent a considerable period pre-writing, revising and re-writing my posts and selecting suitable images. I knew I would be effectively ex-telecommunicated for the first days of April, so it was necessary to pre-write and schedule. I wanted my posts to go out at a predictable time, and my unstructured lifestyle means my getting-up time is anything between 4am and 10am, so I scheduled them all for 7am CET (my server is in UK, so it thinks it's 6am when they go out). They are all examined at least twice before they go out. My weekly blog goes out on Sunday, and is almost always a free-flow stream of consciousness.

    Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, unplanned and unforeseen changes from the anticipated path. It's what makes life interesting and challenging. I once worked with a piece of commercial software whose most frequent error message was "Didn't expect that kind of value here". Wondrous words!

    Keith A storey of stories

    • D Biswas says:

      Keith, I pre-wrote most of the posts here, but not the stories on my other blog. I'm not sure I tried any twists in those tales, but readers still seemed to find them πŸ™‚

  • klahanie says:

    Hi Damyanti,

    I have plenty of twists in my stories. Actually, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar has plenty of twists in her tails um tales. I love a surprise twist in a story. I reckon there are a number of questions raised by anybody who actually stumbles upon something I've written, or Penny has written. Generally speaking, I let the reader come to their own conclusions.

    Try to have some relaxation time, my dear friend. This is one of my great concerns about this challenge that it starts to stress people out. That's just not right.

    Goodnight from England. Five in the morning. Yep, I must be completely loopy.

    Gary πŸ™‚

    • D Biswas says:

      Gary, you didn't sound loopy here at all. I look forward to writings both by you and Penny. yes the AZ stresses us out, but it is also rewarding, so there goes! πŸ™‚ Hugs, my dear friend.

  • Sue Elvis says:

    I didn't pre-write any of my posts. I'm writing them day-by-day which is proving a bit tiring. Right at this moment, I really feel like doing something other than writing blog posts! Maybe next year I will be more organised and write some posts ahead of time.

    I love books with unexpected twists and turns. I haven't written any fiction using twists, but I have written personal experience stories which have turned in an unexpected direction. Catching the reader by surprise is a big challenge. I started working on this technique when I wanted to write more grief stories but didn't want my readers to automatically dismiss my stories as not relevant to them. Get them interested before they realise the subject matter. Of course the stories have to be satisfying. I imagine readers don't like to feel tricked.

    Your post has me thinking. Thank you!

  • M Pax says:

    I adore plot twists. The first quote is right. There is no formula for them. If there is, they become predictable and then are no longer a surprise. Which ruins them. I think. πŸ™‚

  • Huntress says:

    It is so hard to know if what you think is a plot twist is shrugged off by a reader who says, "I figured that was coming." That's why CPs are so important.
    Thx for hosting 2014 A to Z!!!
    Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
    Facebook Wilder Mage

  • I like great plot twists, especially with endings. Leave me in awe when reading.

  • Give them what they want but not how they expect it. Sounds like playing God for sure.

  • I love twists in a story, since I hate being able to predict an ending. These are useful quotes.

  • I absolutely love a good plot twist. It'll make or break it for me.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I love those, "Oh,no!" moments in a story. Didn't see it coming. Shocked that it did. Have to turn the page to see what happens next.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Great post thank you Damyanti. The quotes are a treat! Twists and turns are important but need to be carefully crafted I agree – I am trying very hard with my WIP. I'll bookmark this.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  • I enjoy twists in a story. Adds excitement. I've done twists in flash fiction, but not many in longer works.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

  • I'm working on a plot twist now, but I'm not exactly sure of the best way to have it happen. They are challenging! And when you're inside the story, it's sometimes hard to decide if it's a twist or not.

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