Sorry, had to get that out of my system. That being said I do think the sudden death of an important character can function as an effective twist in less murdery stories. Provided you do it right, you can take something fairly light and force the reader to pay attention. "Oh look! Real stakes!"
Anything that changes the way the world looks.
Changing the way the character your reader probably associates most with interacts with the world, by revealing hidden qualities or taking use of what was already obvious but in a non-obvious way.
I recall a rather devilish twist in the anime Monster. But it was also a spoiler so I'll leave that to people who've seen it to understand.
A lot of my favorite twists come from video games - Zero Escape, Ghost Trick, Ever17, Root Double, Braid. Several of these utilize the structure of the game to hide something that would have been obvious in any other medium, so you can get away with some fascinating twists that haven't been done before. The Zero Escape franchise is particularly good at hoodwinking the player, but always in a way that makes you kick yourself in retrospect for not guessing earlier.
But, I think my favorite twist ever comes from season six of Red VS Blue. I love watching the reaction videos on Youtube, because there's nothing like watching the penny drop It's one of those things that's so completely obvious once you know, but you never could have guessed it on your own because you didn't know that the hints were hints - they were jokes or throwaway lines that didn't seem to mean anything. The setup is one of the most beautifully slick pieces of writing I've ever come across.
Lawrence: At some point, my conduit wants to pull a twist where a character that is loved throughout the story suddenly turns his back on the others, instilling a sense of shock and betrayal to the reader. The story he wants to write in the future centered around facades.
an amazing twist is one in which • first time around, you didn't see it coming at all; it completely recontextualizes the dynamic of the central conflict
• second time around, it makes way too much sense; there aren't just two or three lines or visual cues to foreshadow the twist... the twist itself is an inevitable endpoint, a culmination of any and all background information that had previously been trickled out organically
• henceforth, it isn't the only good thing about the piece; unless we're in the realm of brevity (short stories, or TV shows that don't bother building continuity between episodes), the twist shouldn't be the only thing on your mind when you revisit the story... it should be just one piece of a greater whole
That's almost verbatim what I was about to say, until I decided to read the other comments and see if anyone else had said it first. Yup. You did. Movies like The Others introduce an ending that fits with what you saw, but also surprises you and will inform repeat viewing. When I watch the movie knowing what I now know, it's an even better movie. As earlier posters have noted, The Village lacks this strength. It stops abruptly after revealing its big twist, as if that was the sole purpose, and that twist makes zero sense given what we know.
I'm going to have to agree, when I reread a book with a great twist, I'm keeping the twist in mind the whole time, looking at the clues that arrive from knowing what's really going on. My favorite so far was the twist at the end of Skin Games by Jim Butcher. Must of read that one 3-5 times
but back in 2016 I was part of the Yuri on Ice hype. (contains spoilers: don't like, don't read)
at first I was watching the anime just like any other yaoi fangirl -- just for teh secks -- and the anime didn't seem like much to me -- just your average boring storyline: two guys meet up, they're both gay, they instantly get turned on and want to bone... I started asking myself why do I even like this anime? It's dumb -- the events don't make sense.
For the non-yaoi fans out here, here's how the plot goes for the first 9 episodes:
A pathetic fat loser skater (and severely closeted gay man) is suddenly visited by his idol, the man he looked up to for years, a champion super famous skater, the man he's been secretly in love with, and he's never even had a single conversation with him before. Well suddenly his idol shows up at his house, moves in with him, openly flirts with him, offers to support his dead skating career by coaching him...
Obviously this is ridiculous wish fulfillment that can never -- ever -- happen IRL. It sounds too dumb for words -- like any yaoi anime plot.
And there is no buildup at all -- this man, this super skater, is suddenly head over heels for this bland, boring, unremarkable loser skater...(whom we identify with because the story is told from his POV, and he reacts in a shy way and appreciates everything his idol does for him). The MC is a nice guy, a sweet fellow but we don't understand why the idol loves him so (when they have literally had no interaction prior to the story).
[SPOILER WARNING] can't do this without spoilers sorry -- the anime is nearly 2 years old now -- go watch it!
So by the time episode 10 rolled in, I was genuinely getting bored of this silly convoluted plot that made no sense and just pandered to impressionable teen yaoi fangirls.
And then it happened!
Up until this point the characterization of the MC was one of a cuddly cute sweet young gay 'boy'/manchild (who is still a virgin... at 24 ... and doesn't even know what a 'sexuality' is)...
then episode 10 reveals that MC has balls when he gets drunk he turns into his really kinky weird and openly sexual man who isn't shy at all but bravely declares his feelings.
And now the whole plot makes sense: because the two main romantic leads do have a history: they met up prior to the story events, MC declared his love for his idol in an unorthodox, incredibly lewd way... his idol enjoyed that... developed a (slight) crush on him, then had some personal issues in his life, and decided to distract himself by helping MC out. Throughout the course of the story they get to know each other better and genuinely fall in love with each other.
So: plot twist: this was not your standard yaoi plot line, but an actually well written love story all along
I like twists that occurred to me was possible at some point but said "nah, that's probably not gonna be how it works out." I don't find twists that come out of nowhere or was the main prediction I had while watching that amazing since it didn't have that teeny probability factor to it.
PatrickAttawayFeatured By OwnerFeb 9, 2018Professional Writer
I love Fincher. The Game is an underrated classic. On a related note, I think Michael Douglas's A Perfect Murder (Hitchcock remake) has a cool twist with the hitman falling for his prey.
Pretty much every Philip K Dick short story and many of his novels has a twist ending. Blade Runner is an obvious example.
I think irony is a good twist, though. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson is looking for "The American Dream," and it turns out to be a bar. American Psycho really blurs the lines between reality and delusion even without the confusing ending.
You pretty much nailed it with "How did I not see that coming??" It should seem like it was inevitable, even though we never guessed it while reading/watching.
Linked to that, it should move the story closer toward a resolution of the major conflict, not spin everything off in a random new direction near the end. Good example of the latter: the Animal Crossing movie. It starts out pretty similar to the game, with a character moving to a town of animal characters and going on in a slice-of-life fashion, until SUDDENLY ALIENS – which don't exist in the game and had virtually no connection to the rest of the movie.
I really like it when you suddenly get information or an event occurs that casts everything into a different light, like finding out that Albus Dumbledore is gay, all of a sudden the entirety of the book got an entirely new depth.
I think a good twist has to be supported by enough points in the story that it holds up to scrutiny and it has to have a reason to happen.
"The Game" is a good example because, while there are things about the plot that are unlikely, it's possible they had everything planned out well and also that there was even more going on that we didn't see because the main character didn't make those choices, but I think we get enough info to believe they might have covered all the bases. And it makes sense (mostly).
"The Village" on the other hand is an example that doesn't hold up. The more you find out, the less sense everything makes and it all starts unraveling. When you get the final reveal, it lacks any emotional punch, you just feel like you wasted your time.