Is Predictable Writing Bad?
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in writing in which writers try to create an unpredictable plot twist to their story, but end up falling flat. Some examples are Veronica Roth’s Allegiant or HBO’s Game of Thrones. While plot twists are typically a sign of good writing, if not used correctly, it could cause the opposite effect. Writer’s shouldn’t place unpredictability over good plotting.
The common worry is having a predictable twist. But, having a predictable twist doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, in fact, it’s the opposite! You have to remember that it’s all about set up an execution. Sometimes it not that your twist is obvious, but, rather, you’ve got a reader that knows how to pay close attention.
Tips for Writing Good Plot Twists
Here are a couple to tips to keep in mind when creating your twist:
If you already have a plot twist in mind, then you should focus on ways you can foreshadow it. Leaving clues earlier in the story can decrease the chance of your plot twist coming off as nonsensical.
Take some time to come up with ways you can integrate clues earlier in the novel. Remember to place the clues in scenes where it won’t stand out.
If you want to guarantee your plot twist takes readers by surprise make sure to misguide attention or place red hearings. But you have to remember to give readers a plausible suspect or situation.
A good example of this is Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. The husband, Nick Dunne, did not commit murder, but Flynn set him up to appear as if he had; she emphasized his unhappiness with the marriage, money troubles, and his affair. This leads readers to suspect him for the murder.
Ensure the Twist Serves the Plot
Having a plot twist to spice up your writing is tempting, but you should consider if it’s necessary. The twist should help move the plot along. In the case of Gone Girl, the audience discover the plot twist along with Nick Dunne.
We learn that Amy isn’t just framing Nick for her murder, but ensuring he will receive the death penalty. The reveal gives Nick the motive to go public with his innocence and convince Amy to reveal she is alive.
Basically, the twist should help move along the action and get your character to the resolution.
Don’t Feel Discouraged
Writing can feel like a constant pressure to impress your audience. But, you need to keep in mind that you can never outwit them. In a sea of a hundred readers, at least one will be able guess what will happen.
It’s not an indicator that you’re a bad writer, but rather the individual is a sharp reader.
As long as your story provides a sound and enjoyable twist, being predictable shouldn’t be a worry.
If you do come up with the perfect plot twist, make sure you submit your story to Capulet Mag, the lit mag for women.