I'm currently working on a short story with a dramatic "twist" ending. I use the quotation marks because, unlike a conventional plot twist aimed at surprising the reader, the intended target of the twist is the protagonist.

The intent is for the reader to be able to figure out the "twist" themselves before the protagonist does. In order to increase the odds of this happening I'm planning on making sure the reader has various advantages that the protagonist does not.

However because the story is being written from a third-person limited POV (and the protagonist is the only POV character) I'm finding myself rather limited in what clues I can feed the reader without the protagonist "knowing" them too.

So I'm contemplating inserting a single statement in the first person as the opening line. I've got the line written and it will give the savvy reader a great deal of additional context for the clues that the protagonist doesn't have allowing them to read much more into seemingly mundane events and work things out ahead (particularly genre-savvy readers might even get 80% of the twist from the statement alone)

Now swapping narration perspectives mid-story would feel wrong in this case and would break the immersion I'm building in the protagonist's POV - but does using the opening line in this way do the same? Or am I risking reader confusion by presenting something from a perspective that I never actually return to during the story?


1 Answer 1


Yes, it's fine.

I would set it off though. Italics might work. Or an indented blockquote style. Or a divider between that line and the rest of the story.

You might also make it a fake quote. Like many authors do (with either real or fake quotes) for story or chapter headers.

  • Yeah a visual indicator is a good idea - emphasize the separation. Feb 22, 2019 at 17:22
  • You mean, make it an epigraph? Feb 22, 2019 at 20:21
  • @Galastel I didn't know the name but, yes, that is one of the methods I'm talking about. It could also be regular text but just a very short section. I have a single short paragraph section at the end of one of my novel chapters. Set off from the rest because the POV is different.
    – Cyn
    Feb 22, 2019 at 20:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.