25 Plot Twist Ideas and Prompts for Writers

Is your story stuck? Shake things up with these 25 plot twist ideas and prompts for writers to help make getting from the beginning to the end more of an adventure for the reader and the writer.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Writing is a tricky craft. Sometimes getting a story started is the hardest part. Other times, it's figuring out the grand finale. And then, there are all the twists and turns between the beginning and the end. That's where this post aims to help.

(25 ways to start a story.)

After all, that's where a majority of the writing and the reading is done. But most fun stories don't follow a simple Point A to Point B path even if the plot is as simple as a fellowship of characters delivering a ring from one place to another. In fact, most stories worth reading take more than a few side paths and alleyways on their way to the end.

So I've collected 25 plot twist ideas and prompts to help writers spark new directions in their stories when they're feeling stuck. Each idea is stated concisely below. But if you click on each link, you'll find a more detailed description of the prompt with some ideas of how you can twist things up in your own stories.

plot_twist_ideas_and_prompts_for_writers_robert_lee_brewer

25 Plot Twist Ideas and Prompts for Writers

  1. The Old Acquaintance. Have an old acquaintance emerge from a character's past.
  2. The Unknown Fear. Character reveals a previously unknown fear or phobia.
  3. Antagonist Gain. The story's antagonist receives a new benefit.
  4. Unexpected Action. Character does something completely unexpected.
  5. Weather Breaks. The weather plays a role in the plot of the story.
  6. Personal Artifact. Character finds an object from their past.
  7. Animal Cameo. An animal makes an appearance in the story.
  8. Missing Item. An item (or a person) goes missing.
  9. Uncharacteristic Character. Character starts acting out of character.
  10. True Feelings. Someone admits their true feelings about something or someone.
  11. Tell a Tale. Character tells a story within the story.
  12. Blocked Passage. Block a passage for your characters.
  13. New Person. Insert a new person and see what happens.
  14. Something Breaks. Whether it's an antique or technology, break something.
  15. Authority Figure. Introduce an authority figure to the story.
  16. Unintended Message. Character stumbles across an unintended message.
  17. Sudden Death. Whether nefarious or natural causes, someone must die.
  18. Stuck Together. Bring two characters together, whether they like it or not.
  19. New Power. Reveal a new power for one of your characters.
  20. Divine Act. Have something unexpected and uncontrollable happen.
  21. Release the Monster. Release the kraken, the hounds, or toddlers.
  22. Fall Ill. Have a character get sick.
  23. New Hurdle. Throw a new hurdle in front of your protagonist.
  24. Fight or Flight. It's time to fight, whether with words, fists, or food.
  25. Without a Trace. Have a character leave without a trace.

If you find these helpful, check back every Thursday for more plot twist story prompts here.

*****

40 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers: Writing Ideas for Bending Your Stories in New Directions, by Robert Lee Brewer

Have you hit a wall on your work-in-progress? Maybe you know where you want your characters to end up, but don’t know how to get them there. Or, the story feels a little stale but you still believe in it. Adding a plot twist might be just the solution.

Click to continue.

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Debut author Shugri Said Salh discusses how wanting to know her mother lead her to writing her coming-of-age novel, The Last Nomad.

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

Does your manuscript need a little more definition, but you’re not sure where to begin? Try these 100 tips to give your words more power.

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson discusses how she never gave up on her story, how she worked through internal doubts, and how research lead her out of romance and into historical fiction.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.