I am a young author writing a fantasy series. My story is unpredictable, but there is absolutely no plot misdirection whatsoever. I have tried writing plot misdirections in my story a few times, but I can never stick with it because I know it’s a lie and just can’t seem to make my characters obsess on a problem I know isn’t real, even if it’s real to them.

Any tips on how to weave plot misdirections into your writing?

  • 2
    If your story is unpredictable, what makes you feel you need to add misdirections? I mean authors add misdirections to avoid a story from becoming too predictable, for example, by including red herrings pointing at the wrong person as a murder suspect.
    – Llewellyn
    Dec 19, 2020 at 18:40
  • For future books Dec 19, 2020 at 20:54
  • 2
    This may either put you in the write mindset or break you completely, but in fiction, everything is a lie... but it's an entertaining one.
    – hszmv
    Jan 8, 2021 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


If you're planning to write subsequent books, I'd start by making sure you know the entire plot from beginning to end, all entries included. Give your summary to a reader or two -- friends, family, or online betas -- in sections or chunks, and ask them what they expect to happen next after each piece they're given. Record their expectations and play into some relevant stereotypes while gearing up to subvert them, and bam, you've got some misdirection that doesn't go out of its way to lie to the audience or make them feel cheated.


If you can't make it real to your characters, you can't make it real to your audience. My suggestion is to write it both ways --like an alternate universe --and then don't pick the one you're going to use until after you're done.

I did something similar in my WIP. I wanted to make the ending ambiguous as to what the main character would do, so I went pack and strengthened his alternate choice up to the point where I was genuinely on the fence myself about his best final choice.


I think ya'll all obsess over plot predictability to your own detriment.

If all your story has is plot twists and unpredictability, then it ain't got much.

You might fool some folks into reading your story once, but they won't read it again or recommend it to others.

You need to write stories that are engaging and interesting despite predictability.

If you do that, then you can think about adding a plot twist or being unpredictable.

Watch a few episodes of Columbo. You (as the viewer) always know how it is going to end, and whodunit - every episode starts with the murder, and you see exactly who did it.

Why would you watch Columbo? You know the end after the first few minutes.

You watch Columbo because you don't know how he's going to solve it, and what mistake the killer made that Columbo used to crack the case.

Columbo is utterly predictable in its plot (Columbo arrests the bad guy,) but engaging none the less because you don't know how Columbo is going to pull it off or what other things will happen along the way.

Have you got something to say? Then don't sweat the plot twists or predictabilty.

I personally reject books that only have plot twists going for them. Once I've read it, and know the twist, if that's all you've got then I won't read it again.

Since it is hard for me to get books in English where I live, I tend to buy only books I know have more than just twist.

I explicitly read the beginning and the end and a spot in the middle of a book before buying. Exactly right - "spoilered" on purpose right from the beginning. I ain't got time for your book if it ain't got more to say than "plot twist."

I want stories that give me things to think about and challenge my concepts and attitudes. Those will still be interesting when I read them again next week or next year for lack of new books. Your plot twist is a one trick pony that'll land your book in the (small) pile of "oops, bought a crummy one, don't buy anything from that author again."

  • Downvote for the truth. Did I hurt somebody's feelings? Tough. Write good stories, and then your feelings won't be hurt when someone says your writing sucks. I write answers here from the point of view of a reader because I'm not a writer. You should listen to readers. They're the people who pay you for what you write. Ignore them at your own peril.
    – JRE
    Jan 15, 2021 at 21:34

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