The best plot twists are the most believable ones. Don’t you hate it in novels or films where a twist is thrown in for the drama, and while it might be a ‘wow, really?’ moment, it doesn’t feel true to the characters as it sinks in.
The actions that lead to that twist need to be completely convincing and not out of character. Subtle hints (foreshadowing, as we call it) need to be littered throughout the novel, so subtle that it’s only when you read those final pages that you realise how it all ties together.
A little technique I use (and this doesn’t just apply to plot twists, it can also apply to ‘reveals’ in general, so elements of information held from the reader until later on) is to list the reveals I want to unveil. Then beneath each one, list how I can hint at these reveals throughout the novel without giving anything away.
And the best advice of all, which applies to novel-writing in general, is get a few people to read your novel. Did they guess the twists and reveals? Some will and that’s okay. But hopefully, there will be one or two who didn’t and that’s enough to know you’ve cracked the surprise element.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.