One of the best parts of both writing and reading a book are the unexpected twists. But I think twists are most effective when you balance them out with what I call ripple scenes.
These are scenes that show the effects the twist had on the characters. I'm going to use the movie Tangled for this post. I know some have issues with using movies instead of books, but I just hate to ruin twists from a book.
One of the early twists in Tangled happens when Rapunzel and Flynn have left the tower. Flynn is looking for an easy out of the quest, so he takes Rapunzel to a rough bar in hopes that she'll get so freaked out by all the ruffians and she'll beg to be taken home.
But instead we get our twist. The ruffians recognize Flynn from his Wanted poster, one goes to get a palace guard, and others start fighting about who will turn him in for the reward money. Just when things are looking really bad for Flynn, Rapunzel steps in and saves the day. She shares about the dream of her heart, to go see the floating lights. The other rough guys then begin singing about their dreams, and now she's rallied everyone to help her out.
While Rapunzel's actions save them from the angry mob, this twist of Flynn being recognized and Rapunzel singing sends out several story ripples:
- The palace guards are alerted, so now they're chasing after Flynn and Rapunzel.
- Rapunzel's "mother" sees Rapunzel singing about being glad she left the tower. She realizes what she's up against, and that she'll need to change her tactics to get Rapunzel back.
You'll notice this twist isn't one that works in the main character's favor. It's one that strengthens the opposition.
Something else follows this twist that I think is a wonderful technique - a brief moment of recuperation. When Rapunzel and Flynn are in the secret tunnel escaping the palace guards, they have a quiet moment where Flynn is showing interest in Rapunzel and her story. We get a glimpse of the subtle change in his heart (he now cares, even slightly, about somebody besides himself) and that helps to anchor how the twist in the story has changed things for him.
Now let's make it yours! In your story, are you taking time to show how the twists effect the various characters?
Also, there are just 2 1/2 weeks of the 100 for 100 challenge, which is pretty exciting. Looks like lots of you are finishing strong!