Plot Reversals of Fortune

Writer’s Digest fiction columnist Nancy Kress explains how to use character and plot reversals to introduce surprising twists to your story and challenge your readers’ expectations.

As Kress says, “… You want readers to be suddenly taken in a direction they had not anticipated. In fact, a writer must do this. The alternative is a story that can be predicted in its entirety after reading the first page.”

Here are tips you can use to create your own reversal of fortune:

  • Think about your protagonist.
  • How might he react differently in a given scene?
  • The character’s new behavior must be unexpected and convincing.
  • Plot reversals occur as a result of something unexpected done to the character.
  • The result of any reversal should be surprise, alertness, momentary disorientation or uncertainty.

For the complete story, order the October ’01 issue from our back issues.

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