Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience déjà vu.

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, The Message, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Déjà Vu

For today’s prompt, have a character experience déjà vu. Of course, déjà vu describes the feeling a person gets of already having experienced the same situation. It could be a feeling that you’ve already had the same conversation, done the same activity, or witnessed the same events. And with déjà vu, it doesn’t feel only similar, but exactly the same.

(Effective Repetition in Writing.)

Once a character experiences déjà vu, they can exhibit a range of reactions. For instance, they can stop what they’re doing and change their intentions. So a character who is about to get married experiences déjà vu, and it spooks them away from the altar. Or a character is about to enter a building, but they feel like they’ve already been there and get a pit in their stomach that says, “Don’t do it.” And it’s possible that déjà vu works the other way and encourages someone to move forward with an action as a result.

Since déjà vu is often completely internalized, the reactions to it can seem out of nowhere for other characters in the story. As a result, there may be unexplained conflict and fall out from a character’s reaction to déjà vu. So while one character is experiencing déjà vu, the others probably are not, and they have no idea that the one character is. That can complicate things in a good way for a story.

So have a character experience déjà vu and see what happens next.

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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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