Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters take a defensive posture.

Plot twist story prompts aren’t meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they’re for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

Each week, I’ll provide a new prompt to help twist your story. Find last week’s prompt, Double-Cross, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Board Up the Doors

For today’s prompt, have your characters take a defensive posture. The first image that springs to mind for me is from Night of the Living Dead when they literally start boarding up the doors to keep the zombies out. But even in that movie, there was other defensive posturing, including the group of people who hid in the locked basement without announcing their presence until after the doors were boarded up.

(5 Ways to Surprise Your Reader Without It Feeling Like a Trick.)

In some stories, defensive posturing may involve getting a city ready for attack from some invading force. In others, it may involve one character finding a good hiding place from an external threat. Also, don’t overlook the fact that not all defensive postures are physical; some characters may put up psychological or emotional defenses to keep fears and anxieties at bay.

And here’s another thing to keep in mind with this prompt, the threat may or may not even be legit. Or the perceived threat may be a distraction from the real threat. In fact, one of the great strengths of this plot twist is that it’s great for building suspense and drama for the characters and the reader to see what actions these defenses will lead to.

So have a character take a defensive posture and see what happens next.


Have you hit a wall on your work-in-progress? Maybe you know where you want your characters to end up, but don’t know how to get them there. Or, the story feels a little stale but you still believe in it. Adding a plot twist might be just the solution.

Click to continue.

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