Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, show a character’s first moment of transgression.
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, Who Am I?, here.
Plot Twist Story Prompts: Transgression Moment
For today’s prompt, show a character’s first moment of transgression. A transgression, of course, is an act that goes against a rule, a law, or even a moral code. Perhaps your character feels very strongly that people should never, ever, under-any-circumstances tell a lie of any size. Write them into a situation where they have to tell a lie, even if “it’s just a little fib.”
That first moment of transgression can tell readers a lot about a character. Do they labor over that moment? Or is it no big deal to commit a transgression? Is it something they regret later? Or do they jump into an even bigger (or completely different) transgression in the future?
Keep in mind that transgressions are not restricted to villains and antagonists. Part of the thing we love about memorable protagonists is that they have to wrestle with moral decisions all the time. Sometimes they commit transgressions, even if it’s for a noble reason. And many villains and antagonists believe they have good intentions when they commit their own transgressions.
Beyond that, remember that not everyone may agree on what a transgression is. In the epic 80s film of good vs. evil known as Footloose, there was a contingent of people who believed dancing was a transgression, while another body of folks thought the act of dancing was natural. The conflict in the story actually revolved around whether the transgression was actually a transgression.
So show a character’s first moment of transgression 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.