So I have this idea for a plot twist and I really like it. I think I drop enough hints here and there to indirectly say to the audience: "Hey, I know what you might be thinking of, but maybe consider this possibility. Just saying, it might happen, you know..."

However, I'm not sure if other people would enjoy this particular plot twist I thought of, so I'm not sure if I should really commit to fleshing out this aspect of the story or drop it entirely.

So what I want to do is sort of write a synopsis of what happens in the story, as well as all the hints I'll be dropping, and give it around to see if people would enjoy it. Since it's very barebones at this point, as it's just a summary and not the actual story itself, they'll have to imagine most of it. It would be like reading the plot summary of a wikipedia page of a book/film.

Would this be a good idea to "test" your plot twist? Are there better methods?

(I can provide an example, if needed)

  • Example please. I'm intrigued. – Aspen the Artist and Author Sep 29 '17 at 16:05
  • Why do you think the readers would not enjoy the twist? Is it because the twist is illogical/implausible, or because it would be distasteful, like Luke having turned to the Dark Side? – Alexander Sep 29 '17 at 17:15
  • @Alexander It may be distasteful to certain people because it involves a surprise polygamous relationship... sort of. Except... not really. It's kind of hard to explain without the context. – noClue Oct 4 '17 at 15:37
  • @AspenRand Is it actually ok if I give an example here? It would be a pretty huge wall of text to convey what I want to achieve and to explain the characters and their motivations. Sorry for the late answer btw. – noClue Oct 4 '17 at 15:38
  • Ok, I was trying to find out what your specific concern is. In this case, it all depends on your readers. For example, revealing one of the main characters as gay may be great for some readers, but painful for some others. – Alexander Oct 4 '17 at 16:37

I do not think you would get accurate feedback, because in a synopsis like that the readers are not invested enough in the characters and story, and the twist is likely to leave them flat.

The key to a twist is if, on first read, a reader doesn't see it coming, but when it does they realize it all makes sense: and on second read the clues are there and the twist was there. The story has to be consistent with the twist; you (the author) did not ever lie to the reader (although characters may have), and you did not totally conceal the twist (although some events may be reinterpreted on second read and make more sense).

Consider "The Sixth Sense" [The "I see dead people" movie], and the twist at the end. Watching the movie a second time, the twist holds up, no lies were told, no actions made the twist impossible. You have consistency and the movie makes even more sense on the second viewing. That is what makes a satisfying twist. What makes an unsatisfying twist is if the story makes less sense, including direct contradictions to the twist (lying to the reader in exposition when readers have been given no clue that the narrator can lie).

  • Yes, this is exactly the difference between one that annoys a reader and one that pleases the reader. I always love to go back and re read to catch all the clues I missed that lead to the twist. – ggiaquin16 Oct 3 '17 at 23:50

If you have a large enough group of test readers to perform idea evaluation prior to writing, then I envy you. I usually save my test readers till the end, so that their single reading effort can evaluate not only my ideas but also my choice of voice, character development and plot.

Keep in mind that once a test reader has been used for a particular project, they will never again have the "new reader" experience on this project. First eyes are Best eyes when it comes to critical review and feedback.

If you like your plot twist, then stop fretting about it. Add it to your story design and move on. Start Writing!!!!


If you love it, write it.

I don't think that any writer can please everyone. There will always be someone who won't like a book even if it got the best reviews in history.

I remember reading/hearing a sentence about writing "if you try to please everyone you'll disappoint everyone" or something like that...

If you like it and think that if you were reading it on someone else's work you'd like it... then put it on paper.

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