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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Authority Figure

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, we introduce an authority figure to the story.

Plot twist story prompts aren't meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they're for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

Each week, I'll provide a new prompt to help twist your story. Find last week's prompt, Something Breaks, here.

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Authority Figure

For today's prompt, introduce an authority figure to your story. There are so many directions you could go with this one. Maybe two characters think they know who the villain is, so they try to break into his or her office only to get caught by a security guard or a police officer. Or a character tries to sneak away from class to do a good deed but runs into the principal or a teacher.

In both of these examples, there are questions that need answered. What will the authority figure do? How will the characters get out of their predicament? Will they get out of their situation? If they don't, what does that mean for what they were originally trying to do?

(Develop a fascinating premise for your mystery novel.)

Beyond these initial questions, there could be longer term considerations that are now introduced. Will the authority figure stay involved in the story beyond the initial encounter? Is the authority figure a force for good or evil? Are they just trying to do the right thing and follow the rules, or are they somehow corrupt? And, of course, remember that they can evolve like all the other characters.

One fun idea to play with when introducing an authority figure is actually the tension between doing what feels like the right thing and doing what is the lawful thing. Sometimes those don't mesh quite as well as we'd expect. Readers love following characters who are placed in difficult situations and are forced to make morally difficult decisions. And often, an authority figure helps amplify the moral stakes.

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If you want to learn how to write a story, but aren't quite ready yet to hunker down and write 10,000 words or so a week, this is the course for you. Build Your Novel Scene by Scene will offer you the impetus, the guidance, the support, and the deadline you need to finally stop talking, start writing, and, ultimately, complete that novel you always said you wanted to write.

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