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110

If I had to play out this scene from the POV of the protagonist, it would be hard to transition from "redshirt" to "heroine" in a first person narrative. She - as a person - is the heroine from the start no matter what the reader thinks. Her personality doesn't change. That's why I would play this scene out from the monster's point of view. For the monster ...


71

What pattern are you breaking? In this case, you are hoping the accumulation of other people's writing clichés will carry your opening. You want to subvert the trope, but unfortunately this trope subversion is almost as cliché. It's used when the protagonist is a strong female, and it's used when the villain is a strong female. Maybe the only reader this ...


43

You absolutely can do this, but there are two very important points to consider. What is your purpose in choosing this ending? In what way will this be a satisfying conclusion, from the reader's perspective? In your question, you're describing a particular sequence of events as being an unexpected one. That's great, but what makes story isn't just the ...


37

TLDR - Readers guessing your plot twist doesn't have to mean it's ruined, there are ways to make it satisfying linksassin's answer is good, but I'll offer an alternate idea : Anticipated plot twists can work if they're executed well Take the famous Star Wars example. The twist that Darth Vader is Luke's father isn't a twist for present day first-time ...


27

I would like to offer a frame challenge: you're asking "will X make my story not fit the 'dark fantasy' sub-sub-genre". I say, write your story, make it a good one, then think what genre or sub-genre it fits. Does the twist you're planning make your story a good story? Neil Gaiman says "Fiction is the lie that tells a truth" (source). Are you telling a ...


20

When the narrator is wrong about something in the book's world, it's called an unreliable narrator. When a narrator has a single point of view (sees through one character's eyes) then it's inevitable that some information is unreliable. Readers understand that. With a 3rd person narrator you're also doing some factual description based on what the ...


20

I'm going with a frame challenge. Not all reveals are a "twist" A twist is new information that changes the meaning of earlier events. This is done by writing 2 plots with the same events. The MC believes the 1st plot until the twist when the 2nd plot is revealed as the true version of events. Readers should be able to re-read the story knowing the twist, ...


19

Hero 1 goes through the gauntlet to become a hero, and it's left him bitter. He's angry at how unfair it was. How many good men died just to prove purity (or whatever). He is a hero, but he's broken. Hero 2 goes through the gauntlet to follow in his idol's footsteps: Hero 1. He gets through the gauntlet because he keeps reminding himself about Hero 1. He's ...


19

Hero-always-wins is a trope I wouldn't call this a plot twist. A twist is a reveal. It changes how events earlier in the story are perceived. This is subverting a trope. The trope is an expected cliché: "the hero always wins", but then you break or subvert expectations. (See 2016 for middle-aged men having a cosmic meltdown because their Star Wars ...


18

Do you mean a Jekyll/Hyde plot? Such a plot twist needs some amount of foreshadowing, so that the savvy reader might suspect, while the less savvy reader would have a moment of "Aha! now it all makes sense!" Such foreshadowing can come in the form of information that Jekyll receives and Hyde responds to, Hyde doing things that would be in one way or another ...


17

Write from the POV of the monster. This way the prey can be described in more dismissive terms. You can then add inner thoughts of the monster. Dismissive thoughts about how this one does what they all do. First they get scared and their blood makes them easier to find. Then they run, and tire themselves out. Next they die. Hey wait, where did that thumping ...


16

People from the comments dislike dream twists but I'm curious how stories like "Alice in wonderland" or "Total recall" or "Wizard of Oz" pulled those endings off. The problem with "just a dream" is generally that the reader is left with the impression "nothing really happened." That is a disappointing ending, a waste of time. An exception to this is like "...


16

The problem you're describing is one that happens within third-person omniscient narrative, and therefore isn't a problem within your third-person (limited) POV. But I will tackle the problem as if you are writing omniscient. It is really just a case of whether you want to deceive the reader or the MC. Deceiving the MC is quite easy, in theory, as the ...


14

Two issues: 1. What do you need to make the story work? And 2. What would be plausible if this were real life? Of course #1 can conflict with #2. One of my pet peeves is when characters in a TV show or movie don't do the obvious thing to solve their problem, and you know that the reason they don't is because if they did the movie would be over in 5 minutes. ...


14

I would do a heroic twist of the very first scene of the Buffy the Vampire series, which opens with two high-schoolers: a rather rough around the edges but still 90s cool boy and a nervous girl who is following him, but he keeps having to assure her that they're safe and no one is in the school building that they are breaking into after hours. Now, if you'...


13

+1 colmde. I'd say you can just be careful with your wording, so technically you did not lie to the reader. Don't have the narrator call him "the boss". I will add an example: The fat man listened to the piece in his ear, then said, "The boss will be here in a minute. Show some respect." MC said nothing, he just took his seat. A gray-haired man ...


13

To your main question, no, a plot twist is only effective and enjoyable if it is not obvious to the reader, requiring careful observation to anticipate the reveal and otherwise being quite a surprising turn of events. There is some discussion here of instances where a spoiler has not ruined the enjoyment of the plot twist, but I think that's different. Those ...


11

I would find this twist unsatisfying, a deus ex machina (coming out of nowhere) that invalidated the whole story (it was all just a dream...). I also think you wrote yourself into a corner! I suspect the way to fix it is to make your female protagonist better at something than your male protagonist (a better engineer, for example) so he must go back to her,...


11

I think it is a mistake to write half a book as a grim fantasy, then have a twist that undoes that. To me, I am disappointed if the author builds up a dire scenario that suddenly fizzles out, the hero wanders off, the villain turns out to be working an elaborate insane scheme to corner the Nutella market, or write "Bite Me!" on the Moon. The Reader's ...


10

+1, Wetcircuit, though I will disagree on the Buffy angle; she is right on the misdirection. This is difficult to pull off. The way I would do it is a little "close up magic"; you have to write from the POV of the hero but still mislead the reader into thinking she is doing something DIFFERENT than what she is doing. One way to do that is give her a phone ...


10

Balance is key There is a very delicate balance between a plot twist that feels contrived and unrealistic and one that the reader can see coming from a mile away. There is no exact correct answer to this, and a lot of it comes down to execution rather than one being strictly better than the other. Personally as a reader I hate nothing more than knowing ...


9

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 ...


9

If I were writing, they would have to be suspicious, no matter how this affected the story. The only good reason to NOT be suspicious is some form of love, romantic, sibling, parental, etc. For example, a son may not believe his own beloved father would betray him. I have a best friend of forty years that might as well be my sibling, we have been through ...


9

You need a major twist earlier in the story. The promise to the reader is that there is a debate about the strange events, and that things don't always turn out as they appear. That makes your ending "fit" within the possibilities defined by the story. Strange events have happened and have been scientifically explained, even though they may have been ...


8

Surprising, yet Inevitable The best twists are those which feel completely unanticipated when they are first revealed, but make total sense in hindsight. The story should make more sense after the twist than it did before the twist. This is mainly achieved via foreshadowing, by leaving subtle discrepancies which readers can pick up on but can't use to ...


8

Have you ever played the game Diablo? In it, a knight comes to battle evil. A young prince has been possessed by a demon and much needs setting right in the realm. At the end, when the player has finally defeated Diablo, there is a cut scene where we see the prince freed from the demon and our character is holding a stone. This stone is the essence of evil ...


8

(Note: This answer is basically the opposite of Cyn's answer. I can see arguments for doing it either way; in the end you might have to play around a bit and see what works best for your story. Cyn's answer is certainly nice because you don't need to give any details about the heroine yet, so you can fully develop her later.) The cliché The cliché that you ...


7

I'd say for this to work, there should be sufficient information before this point for the readers not to see the antagonist as a bad guy. Machiavellian perhaps, but not evil. Then, for the antagonist, it should indeed be the logical solution to let your protagonists go. I mean, they fought against him. It isn't logical to send a message that "fight me, ...


7

In the end of my story I want to make my MC leave the world or the world gets destroyed or whatever. And make him feel he was better of in a time where he was still with his friends (the sidecharacters). Nothing wrong with a world ending tragedy. They can make for some really thoughtful or emotional endings, and still leave the reader satisfied, even if you ...


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