Plot Twists

Plot Twists

I’m not a fan of the plot twist gimmick just for gimmick’s sake. A story has to be good FIRST, and then twist can just add another layer to the fun. There are films that sacrifice logic and character to make the twist work, and that just burns me up.

In any case, this article does a good job of listing all the ways you can write a twist:

How to Write Plot Twists That Really Mess with People’s Heads

  • Anagnorisis: The sudden critical discovery of information, like the true identity of a character (The Sixth Sense, Fight Club, The Usual Suspects)
  • Analepsis: A flashback that reveals new or different information about a past event (MarnieOnce Upon a Time in the West)
  • Unreliable narrator: A realization that the narrator has lied about or manipulated information given throughout the story (Memento, Shutter Island, The Usual Suspects)
  • Peripeteia: A sudden reversal of a character’s fortune (Million Dollar BabyTitanic)
  • Poetic justice: an “ironic twist of fate” in which good is rewarded with or bad is punished by something related to the deed or misdeed (ex: a murderer being shot with the very gun he used to kill his victim, a staunch anti-drug politician being arrested for possession of narcotics)
  • Chekhov’s gun: a character or device that seems to have a minor role suddenly becomes important to the story (Buddy in The Incredibles, Rick’s grenade in The Walking Dead)
  • Red herring: a false piece of information that leads characters in the wrong direction (The DiVinci Code)
  • In medias res: starting from the middle of a narrative in order to deliver information over time (Raging BullKill Bill: Volume 2)
  • Non-linear narrative: a narrative told in non-chronological order, forcing the viewer to piece information together (Pulp FictionMulholland DriveRashomon)
  • Reverse chronology: a narrative told in reverse order, forcing the viewer to piece information together (Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  • Deus ex machina: A sudden and unexpected introduction of a character, device, or event that ruins or saves the day (War of the Worlds, Avatar)



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