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

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, Start Packing, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Gift Giving

For today’s prompt, have your characters give or receive a gift. Initially, this might seem like no big deal (Wow! Joe gave Suzie a present; let chaos reign!). But in the world of plot twists, every small gesture could (or could not) be a big deal. For instance, what if Joe’s gift to Suzie were actually a simple gold ring that has an inscription that is revealed by fire to be the one true ring of power that all of Middle-earth is desperately seeking? That’s a big gift with plotting repercussions (and how the LOTR trilogy gets kicked off with a gift from one little hobbit to another).

Or perhaps the gift given is the gift of knowledge. In one popular story, this guy Jake gave his former business associate (well, his partner, in fact) the gift of illumination. Of course, Jake had been dead for seven years, and the gift involved three spirit visitors visiting his friend Ebenezer, but a gift is a gift, and it was the driving force of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

(4 Writing Techniques to Borrow From Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.)

Of course, the gift giving doesn’t have to involve major plots like a ring of power or the visitation of spirits. A gift could make a character change their views and attitudes toward another character (hence, changing the plot). Or the gift could make a character more trusting or less trusting. Gifts are funny in the way they can reveal new layers of a character’s nature.

So have your characters give or receive a gift 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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