Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, think about what your story would be like if it were not exactly how it seemed.
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, On The Run, here.
Plot Twist Story Prompts: What If Scenario
For today’s prompt, take something that you accept for fact in your story and think about what it would be like if it weren’t that way at all. Maybe there’s a super supportive secondary character who is actually rooting (and maybe plotting) for the protagonist to fail. Perhaps the antagonist has been trying to do the right thing all along. Maybe that dream sequence earlier in the story actually happened.
I admit that this week’s prompt is totally inspired by the Marvel Comics “What If…” series, which would ask these types of questions of long-established characters and storylines: What if, instead of X happening, Y happened? But there’s no reason writers can’t do that as well in their own stories.
There is, of course, a chance to really twist your story here, but be aware that you could also lose your readers if you use this tactic too frequently. Quite a few TV shows (looking at your The Flash and Once Upon a Time) take this tactic too far, so that viewers can’t work up the ability to be emotionally invested in the characters after they’ve died (and come back to life) and changed sides (from good to bad and back again) so many times.
On the other hand, some of the best moments in storytelling history have come from learning that the antagonist actually had some good in them. Or that the coward or punching bag was actually the real evil mastermind. And so on.
Once you begin thinking this way, you’ll find that the twists are limitless. But remember: With great plot-twisting ability comes great responsibility. So take a hard look at your story and think, what if it were different?
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.