I'm thinking of putting a "straight plot twist" to my story. What I have in mind is putting in a similar situation that leads to a previous plot twist, but actually the plot is just going straight without another twist.

Is such a thing possible to implement successfully? If yes, how to incorporate such a "straight twist" successfully, without making the story boring because of the straightness of the plot?

  • What is a "straight plot twist"? Putting in some clues for a twist, but reveal that these clues are false?
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 5:01
  • @Alexander yes, that's what I mean. The clues are pointing toward a cliche plot twist, but in reality they are pointing to a straight plot. I'm having trouble giving an example, but the concept is there.
    – Vylix
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 5:07
  • 2
    Are you talking about a Red Herring? tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RedHerring
    – FraEnrico
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 6:58
  • You risk disappointing your readers' expectations. This will lose readers' interest in your story faster than being bored by a straight plot. You can get by laying false clues and setting up red herrings to keep your readers guessing about what will happen next.
    – a4android
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can do this

You shouldn't try to use the exact same setup, but draw clear parallels in the buildup of your second twist so that your readers will know that something should happen.

But in the final moment, when everyone expects the twist, you should add something that prevents the twist. The details depend on your story.

Maybe another character has his entrance. Maybe your previous characters remember some important lesson from the last time, showing how they grew over the course of your story. Maybe some Deus Ex Machina is used to prevent something from happening.

Whatever it is: make it clear that there is no plot twist this time. Your characters should spend a few sentences exploring how they or something else prevented your twist, or how everything is going exactly according to their plan, contrary to all the opinions of other characters that told them before it will never work out.

  • Place the hints.
  • Make it obvious when you are getting close.
  • Use someone or something to make everything go according to plan - no plot twist.
  • Explain that there will be no plot twist this time.

Make it a grand event and show your readers that the whole builup was intentional.


how to incorporate such a "straight twist" successfully, without making the story boring because of the straightness of the plot?

Make your character in the second round smart, and the twist preventable if you are smart enough.

Imagine this: Team Dead is infiltrating a high tech complex, all dressed in Ninja black, and they come to the central passage to the main computer. They open the lock and are using some wholly improbable piece of CIA equipment to find the combination and unlock the door, and CLICK-CLACK the door unlocks.

The leader grabs the handle and pulls it open. The technician about to disconnect their improbable equipment sees a dot on the display start blinking, then she yells "Wait!" but it is too late, the leader has opened the door, gas sprays down from hidden nozzles, and Team Dead is dead. The camera focuses on the improbable device, the numbers start turning again, and another combination is shown, before the display flickers and the improbable device dies too, unexpectedly also vulnerable to cyanide gas.

Same villain, different complex, same equipment. Team Bright infiltrates the complex, does all the same stuff, but at the door the technician on the improbable device, Annabelle, watches the numbers spin, then CLICK-CLACK the door is unlocked. Leader man reaches for the door but Annabelle slaps her hand against it, "Five seconds!"

Then the improbable device numbers spin again: CLICK-CLACK from the ceiling, leader man looks up. A green light appears on the improbable device, and Annabelle starts disconnecting it from the lock. "Had to wait to defeat that cyanide backup."

Leader man says, "How did you know that?"

"Lethal locks 403, Harvard Spy College. Oh, but you guys went to Yale!" She winces. "I keep forgetting."

Team Bright proceeds through the doorway and Leader man quickly finds a guard to kill, which makes him feel a tick better about being ribbed by Annabelle.

  • I dunno, seems improbable. Kushner went to Harvard. He couldn't even spot a russian spy to save his life. Flip the schools, much more believable! ;-)
    – SFWriter
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 18:08
  • 1
    @DPT I hear from an actual Harvard graduate that the Harvard student body is almost perfectly divided into two quadrants, with only a scattering of people in the other two. In one corner are the high IQ students without money, there on merit scholarships. In the other corner are the low or average IQ students, mostly legacy (if you graduate from Harvard, your kids are guaranteed a seat) kids with lots of money paying full tuition. The scatterings in the other corners are the 1% of high IQ and money, and an empty corner of average IQ and no money. Wanna bet which square Kushner occupied?
    – Amadeus
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 18:40
  • I'd heard that his dad made a generous contribution at some Harvard 'event' or other during their applications review. This sounds right.
    – SFWriter
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 19:17

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