How do we place a twist or a sting in the tale?

Introduction

In class this week we watched the following YouTube videos:

These videos both gave an unexpected ending, the screenwriter has had to become an illusionist showing the story with one hand whilst their other hand is doing tricks.  At the beginning of the story we are given what may seem an insignificant clue which may be forgotten as the story progresses.  As various clues are laid throughout, we are quite expecting certain events to happen and they do.  This is until there is a complete surprise at the end of the story.

The idea of showing something familiar, whilst something else that is familiar is going on can be quite amusing and unexpectedly good.  The reader or watcher is so busy concentrating on the events in hand that they don’t expect the element of surprise that awaits them at the end of the tale.  The act of misdirection is a skill, generally you either are good at doing it or you are not.  It is easier said than done.  You have to be clear that you are getting the reaction to your writing that you expect.  This is because you know that you are leading people to think one idea but surprising them with something totally unexpected (maybe a form of pay back).  A twist or a sting is generally expected in short stories.

Method

To demonstrate the point on how hard it is to put a twist or sting in the ending of a story my class took part in a short exercise.  Individually we were asked to think of a really simple saying that our mothers used to say to us when we were young.  Then we were asked to build some narrative around the saying making it into a short story leaving clues along the way and placing some twist behind it.  We were given maybe 20 minutes.   Once our stories were complete we then split up into groups of three or four people.  Each group member was asked to read out their story up to the point just before the twist happened and stop.  Then the other group members had to say what they thought the twist was going to be.  In our instances we sort of guessed what each other’s twists were going to be.  It is harder than you think to throw people off a scent, especially in 20 minutes.  Then after hearing all the possible answers, the reader read out the actual twist ending and we could all see how near, or far we were away from guessing the correct ending which was fun.

Conclusion

Please take a look at the two internet pages below that that I came across which give further information about twists in tales:

In class we were advised to never have a dream in a story unless the story is about a dream, or a dream is being referred to only.  The worst scenario to a twist would be that it was all a dream.   We have to care about the story.  This in turn makes us care about the twist.  The twist can’t be something too random.  This is so we can feel intelligent if we find out we are right and then we can go back over the story again and piece it all together.

I hope that you have found this article useful, please feel free to comment and share.

Thank you

Lee.   🙂

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