During a beta read, I told the author whose MS I was reading that the plot unfolded without any surprises; it happened exactly as I first thought it would. I told her there weren’t any twists in the plot.
And, in short, she asked me if it needed a twist.
And I didn’t have a response, because the answer is so obviously YES.
If a story unfolds exactly how I assume it will, I get bored. This is why I don’t like cozy romances, because there’s no twist that’s worth anything.
A story needs twists to keep the reader engaged. A story needs twists to make the reader want to continue to read, to find out what happens, to see how the characters save themselves. A story needs to be gripping. When the story slows, the reader slows, and no desire to read = I’m not going to read.
Now, that doesn’t mean everyone should be writing thrillers. Every story needs a balance of thrills, adventure, romance, and action. Whatever genre who pick just has more of that – A romance has more romance; adventure has more adventure; thrillers have more thrills; horror has more scares.
A good story – one that will last, one that will capture the imagination – has all of those.
How does one twist a story?
That’s right up there with “how do I write a bestseller?”
A twist comes when something other than the obvious happens – when something gets in the way of the hero’s plan, making them think quick, changing their original plan to include this new obstacle; it’s when a villain outsmarts the hero midway; it’s when a plan backfires; its when things don’t go according to the hero’s plan.
When the hero’s plan goes according to plan and everything works out the first time, it’s boring. The hero’s plan needs to fail; she needs to be challenged like she’s never been challenged before; the threat of death needs to be ever closer. The stakes need to be raised.
To get a better idea of how to twist a story, read more.