A plot twist is an unexpected development in a book, film, television program. It is a deviation from an expected story beat. Plot twists can take place at any time in a story, but they’re most commonly associated with endings, and climaxes. Writers frequently use plot twists to add nuance to formulaic narratives.
Plot twists break the monotony of conventional plots and stories, which is why script readers, audiences, and publishers love them. Imagine the hero’s journey but the sage is evil and lies to hero. Another popular twist is an unreliable narrator.
The turning point involves a major event, but unlike a plot twist, it doesn’t necessary involve a change of direction or big “twist.” A turning point or an inciting incident is when a character goes beyond his or hers comfort zone. For example, when the hero agrees to go on the journey.
Above all, the article explains how the author is not allowed to use tricks. Outsmarting the reader is fine, cheating is not.
Plot Twist in books
It is impossible to speak of plot-twists in books without paying homage to one of the greatest writers of all time, Agatha Christie. In ‘And then there were none’ Christie gives a masterclass on how to handle a plot twist with ‘whodunit” theme.
Use humor so the reader puts down their defenses. (b) Use exposition to reveal new information at just the right time. (c) Using different POV’s where one character knows something that the other doesn’t. (d) Establish something early on, which at the time seems insignificant, then expand upon it and make the reader realize that this information was crucial. (e) And finally, try to surprise yourself.
In Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl and film adaptation of the same name, Amy Dunne is missing and likely dead, from what the audience can see. Furthermore, it looks her husband did it—all clues point to him. But we are soon given a plot twist that changes everything. Amy is an unreliable narrator.
Harry Potter has many twists. One is when we learn that Scabbers is in fact Peter Pettigrew, an old friend of Harry’s father whom everyone has long believed dead. It turns out that Peter has been disguising himself as a rat for 9 years to hide the fact that it was he who had a part in the murder of Harry’s parents. Unreliable characters can be a great tool to drive the plot.
Plot Twist in Cinema
One of the best plot-twist in cinema is; the killer was Norman Bates – Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock.
Another one of his classics is Rear Window, here the twist was more of an anti-twist. Jeff is an adventurous photographer who is now in a wheelchair back at his apartment till his injury heals. In order to pass the time, he starts spying on his neighbors. He soon starts suspecting that his neighbor Lars Thorwald has killed his wife. Throughout the entire film, it builds the suspense as if Jess is just bored and maybe overthinking, but he was right.
Shutter Island, Fight Club The Sixth Sense are great examples of unreliable narrators.
In Shawshank Redemption the sweet ending itself is the plot twist. Andy’s been innocent all along and had been planning his escape the day he entered. It took him 20 years to chip away at the wall with a tiny rock hammer in order to get into the prison’s sewage pipes and out to freedom.
Sev7n does the exact opposite with a bitter ending when you finally find out WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!