Bungee jumping, sky diving, secret mission, Indy 500: how do these events compare to art of fiction writing? Each one brings to its ‘doer’ an element of anticipation, exhilaration, unfamiliarity, and adventure. A pure adrenaline rush. And as a writer of fiction, this is plateau you want your reader to experience.
Straying from anticipated ending to a twist makes for good reading, pleasing editor, and upping your chance of getting accepted. But be wary. Your twist should conform along lines of story you have crafted thus far. Not an easy task to accomplish, but plausible.
For example: fifteen-year-old John stole answers to his exam from his teacher’s desk. Throughout storyline, John has been portrayed as a ‘bully’ but every so often writer has offered either flashbacks or little inconspicuous hints into John’s childhood. The reader assumes that John will either get away with it, or get caught and suspended. The author has gripped reader into continuing book to see where this will end up. Here comes twist.
Because of these rare flashback insights, we’ve seen another side to John that, although subtle, it’s still there. So when John ends up placing answers back with no one being wiser, reader is stunned, surprised, but content with this twist ending because it has been subliminally build into plot.
If writer’s portrayal of John had been exclusively ‘bullish’, mean-spirited, unfriendly throughout then reader’s reaction would have been stunned, surprised and obviously, left cheated with an ending that holds no basis with rest of storyline.
This is called character reversal, when character reacts different than what reader expected. And to pull it off, you must have planted subtle seeds along way.