Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stories With a Twist

How do we write a story with a twist at the end. You know the type—a man spends the whole story searching for the person who hit and killed his wife with a car. He finds a man and the man goes to prison, but as the story closes we see something that tells us that the man who was searching for the killer is actually the killer himself, so he was just looking for a scapegoat.

I think one of the things that make stories like this interesting to us writers is that we’re essentially writing two stories at once. We have the story that we want the reader to believe throughout the book, but it has to match up with the story that will be revealed on the final page. Some of our characters have two motives. There’s the motive that we want the reader to believe and the motive that the character actually has. Both motives must be capable of producing the same action.

Writing a story like this requires that we start at the end, because that is the most important part. We may have a rough idea of what the story is about, but that twist has to be etched in stone before we write the rest of the story. Once we have that, we know our two motives and can start adding the details of the story.