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118 votes
Accepted

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

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 ...
  • 1,732
73 votes

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

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 ...
  • 25.1k
45 votes

Plot twist where the antagonist wins

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 ...
  • 28k
37 votes
Accepted

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

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 ...
  • 2,458
27 votes

Trivial non-dark twist in dark fantasy

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 ...
21 votes

How to deceive the MC

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 ...
20 votes

Too soon for a plot twist?

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. ...
  • 25.1k
20 votes

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

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 ...
  • 25.1k
19 votes

Plot twist where the antagonist wins

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 ...
  • 25.1k
19 votes

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

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 ...
  • 4,431
18 votes
Accepted

How to write two seemingly different characters that are actually the same person?

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 ...
17 votes
Accepted

How to deceive the MC

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 ...
  • 4,003
16 votes

Of plottwists and endings

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 ...
  • 94.1k
15 votes

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

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 ...
  • 11.4k
14 votes

Should I make my character suspect an upcoming twist or not?

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 ...
  • 25.3k
14 votes

How to deceive the MC

+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 ...
  • 94.1k
14 votes

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

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 ...
  • 3,097
12 votes

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

+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 ...
  • 94.1k
11 votes

How can I make sure a major twist is not disappointing?

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 ...
  • 94.1k
11 votes

Trivial non-dark twist in dark fantasy

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 ...
  • 94.1k
10 votes

Magic is the twist

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 ...
  • 25.1k
10 votes

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

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 ...
  • 4,098
9 votes

Should I make my character suspect an upcoming twist or not?

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 ...
  • 94.1k
9 votes

Plot twist twist = straight plot twist

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 ...
  • 5,596
9 votes

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

(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 ...
  • 2,832
8 votes

How can I make sure a major twist is not disappointing?

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 ...
8 votes

Too soon for a plot twist?

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 ...
  • 12.4k
7 votes

Is it a deus ex machina if the alternative is illogical?

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 ...
7 votes

Of plottwists and endings

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 ...

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