Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Plot Surprises

I've been thinking about plots lately and reading posts and advice about it.  And I've noticed that many agents and editors say they want to be surprised or they want plotting with unexpected twists and turns.

I'm interested in studying this idea a bit more, and I'd love your help.

First, are there any books on plotting you've found especially helpful? (I already have SAVE THE CAT.)

And second, are there any books that really surprised you?  I can think of two that surprised me: CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare (I did NOT see the brother thing coming), and a part of DEMONGLASS by Rachel Hawkins had me saying, "Oh, SNAP!" out loud. lol.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Share them in the comments!


  1. I loved Across The Universe. Lots of twists n turns at the end.

  2. I was going to mention Beth Revis' books, too. They have some greats twists. The thing I find that helps me with my own twists is to have a simple summary of what is going on in the story and then have fun making the protagonist journey to that information. Because if you get right down to the twisty plots, they are simple pieces of information but what makes them so twisted is that the protagonist never saw it coming.

  3. Hands down, the best book I've ever read in regards to plotting is WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass.

  4. I think the real thing about twists is that they have to be planned, which is especially hard for pantsers. What you have to do, though, is to think of a straight line plot (what's "really" happening), then add a kink in the line somewhere. Then, add another one. By the end, what you're looking at (the "situation" the MC encounters in the beginning) should be far enough from the actual picture that they couldn't guess it. Then, with each twist and turn, you get closer to the picture, but it's still NOT the picture. I just turned right, and can see a glimpse of the real picture, but it is hidden amongst other wrong info/assumptions so that that piece of the puzzle paints a DIFFERENT picture. This happens at every turn in the plot. More pieces, but still not the real picture.

  5. I think Across the Universe and A Million Suns, its sequel, both had a LOT of plot twists. I don't want to give them away, but I can't tell you how many times I was shocked.

    And I would like to include more plot twists in my story for sure. I think I have a few ones. I can think of some outlines I have in my drawer that throw the reader for a bit of a ride.


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