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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Backstory Change

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character's backstory change.

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, Strength Lost, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Backstory Change

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Backstory Change

For today's prompt, have a character's backstory change. As an example, consider the retired widower down the way who volunteers at the library and makes deliveries for the local elderly...only a stranger comes to town and reveals that he's actually an infamous burglar who's been on the run from the law and organized crime.

(12 Dos and Don'ts of Revealing Critical Backstory in a Novel.)

I've always loved the early reveal in Downton Abbey that the super respectable and dry butler Charles Carson is found to have a carefree past as a member of The Cheerful Charlies. While it's not a huge transgression to the others around him, Carson takes it very seriously and even offers his resignation as a result of his hidden past which is revealed by his blackmailer. There's also the Total Recall approach (totally dating myself now) in which a character's own backstory is constantly changing on them. 

The main point of this plot twist is that what everyone thought was real is actually fake. As a result, characters with the changed backstory find themselves straddling two (or more) realities, and those who interact with them have to come to terms with the change in the backstory (or new reality).

So have a character's backstory change, and see what happens next.

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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.

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