How To Write A Big Plot Twist

How To Write A Big Plot Twist

A draft of my fiction novel is placed in the drawer right beneath my desk. It’s, oh I don’t know, a couple hundred pages long. It’s dusty. It’s been a while since I revisited it.

To be honest I don’t recall the last time I revisited it. In the midst of having angels talk to me and visiting strangers homes to heal them, I kind of dropped the ball on my fiction work.

I don’t plan on neglecting it for good. I shall return to it when the time is right.

But for now, I have to think of the ending to a different novel: this one. This nearly 8 year blog.

If you’re just joining me – spoiler alert – the plot twist was this blog was never about me writing a novel – it was about my novel writing me.

As my sister wisely told me recently: “you, brother, are the main character,” not the fictional character I was writing about.

You’ve been reading MY story, dear reader, while god tricked me by waving the shiny object of my fictional tale so that I looked the other way while, perhaps, some of you knew the secret all along.

The Plot Twist

As we start a new year, you may have time to reflect on last year. You may have noticed as I have, as all humans have, that all your plans were subverted by a force bigger than you.

The friends you always thought you would have, may have left you; new friends you never knew you needed, may have come into your life.

Unimaginable tragedies hit, but strange and bizarre miracles also occurred.

You set out to create a life you wanted, instead, you got the life you needed.

What happened to you had to happen to you even if you didn’t want it to happen to you, even if you don’t think it should have happened to you—still, it happened to you.

You may have suddenly lost what you thought you would have forever, but you may have gained something you never imagined and now you feel as though you can’t live without it.

Life can be cruel. But it can also be a masterpiece of joy.

We are writing our story, but we are also reading it. Because we don’t know, we can never truly know, what the future holds.

I think fictional stories always have a plot twist because real life stories have them, too.

In real life, we call them paradigm shifts: the moment when a deeper truth about our existence comes to the forefront, a truth that makes everything that happened before make more sense, and everything that happens after carry the weight of greater significance.

A plot twist in real life teaches us the wisdom of humility – we are not the only ones writing our story: The Great Author is writing it with us, and you may be egotistical and believe you know where the story is headed, but, get ready, your life is about to hit a big plot twist.

It always does.

How do you write a great plot twist?

You don’t.

The plot twist writes you.

Even in writing fiction, I have found that the plot twist reveals itself to me, instead of me generating it: the “twist” just arises from the soil of the story, like a flower ready to bloom.

I don’t have to create it, the plot twist creates me.

We are, each and every one of us, a story god is telling.

You get some choice as to how to tell it, but He’s in charge of some of the bigger plot points.

The End Game

What goals? What plans? What does it matter, when the thing we imagined to create turns out to be something we never would have expected.

This is not the story I set out to write.

This is not the ending I had planned.

Thank god.

The universe wrote me a much better plot twist than any I had in mind for myself.

The cosmos had an ending in mind I never would have conceived.

But I love it anyway.

Why Endings Are Hard

Endings are hard. They’re always hard because of the expectations. People have an expectation of what your ending should be and so no matter what, there will be disappointment.

Lucky for me, I gave up on trying to please others long ago. I’m setting out to write an ending that I’m happy with.

An ending that’s really just a beginning in reverse.

I’ve come a long way, haven’t I? I still have a long way to go.

But I’m still not done teaching you how to create. We still have two months left.

Perhaps you’ll still learn a thing or two.

Perhaps you have learned today that plot twists are like wild horses: you can’t control them, you can’t tame them, you have to just get out of their way and let them come through.

In all their light, in all their glory.

And trust that, in writing your conclusion, that the plot twist will make everything that happened up until that point have a deeper meaning… and everything that happens after carry the weight of greater significance.

Here we go, dear reader: let us both get ready for the end.

Much… two months left of… love,


Categories: Writer's Journal