Disclosing plot twists — Chapter Adventures

I think it’s safe to say we all love a good plot twist from time to time. When a story takes an unexpected turn, a revelation changes the way we see things, or we finally discover what is behind a mystery and are genuinely surprised we are left awed. Of course, sometimes plot twists are predictable or change a story for the worst, which can ruin a book. Either way, when someone mentions a shocking or amazing plot twist in a book, it’s very hard for me to resist picking it up. Then comes the problem: I can’t stop thinking about the plot twist while reading the book. I try to guess, pick up clues in every page, and even read faster than usual just so I can finally read the supposedly incredible revelation.

So today I thought I would talk about the positive and the negative things about plot twists and about disclosing their existence in a book. I even conducted a little poll on Twitter to find out some of your thoughts beforehand, so if you’re curious of the result, read ahead!

I love being shocked in books when it’s well done. It demonstrates an author can create a beautifully complex story right before you, keep you engaged, and then offer something very rewarding. But there are times when I read a book merely expecting everything and anything to be a clue and ruin my own experience. Discovering a plot twist ahead of time is the most frustrating thing that could happen to me. So why do I keep picking up books that offer a plot twist? Well, there are many reasons…

THE POSITIVE

  • I’m curious. I need to know what the mysterious plot twist is all about and be able to join the conversation.
  • I like to be shocked with a story. I love reading things that pleasantly and genuinely surprise me and take me unexpected ways. It feels rewarding and it usually means the story was well crafted.
  • I get to play detective. I enjoy a complex mystery that actually offers clues and foreshadowing for the reader to guess. I can almost sense Agatha Christie feeling proud of me whenever I try to solve those kinds of plot twists.
  • It showcases the author’s creativity. When a plot twist manages to impress me, I admire the author and their imagination to no end.

Then, of course, there are times that I pick a book because I heard of the incredible surprise ending or shocking plot twist to find out one (or more) of these things…

THE NEGATIVE

  • It’s predictable. Sometimes it’s because authors add overused tired tropes and still expect to shock us and other times I guess things out of pure luck or because I’ve read and seen too many mystery novels and films.
  • It’s pointless. The story was okay or amazing up until the point the author decided to “shake things up” and enter a plot twist that ruined everything.
  • It’s just for the shock value. This is a common one and I think it’s a very weak tactic to make people talk about your work. It usually means there’s no real substance.
  • It’s distracting. As I said before, if I know there’s a plot twist, I’m going to try to figure out and I don’t focus properly on the story.

I understand when people mention there is a plot twist in the story, it sells it, but I can’t ignore the fact that it can also ruin the reading experience. I turned to my followers on Twitter with this poll and here’s what they had to say:

Poll plot twist discussion.png

 

Well, I was surprised to find out very few people like being told there’s a plot twist in a book! Many people dislike it, but most people voted “sometimes”, which is reasonable. I guess it really depends on the book and its story. If, for example, the novel is a thriller, I find that selling the plot twist is a good way to build up the hype. On the other hand, if the book is a contemporary and they talk about ‘that ENDING’, I assume someone dies or overthink everything and it probably ruins the whole thing. So, although I love picking up books that have plot twists, I would have to side with the people that voted “sometimes” on this.

What about you? Do you like people disclosing plot twists? Are you like me and pick up books to play detective?

via Disclosing plot twists — Chapter Adventures

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