Plot Twist Story Prompts: Divine Act - Writer's Digest

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Divine Act

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have something unexpected and uncontrollable happen.
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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, New Power, here.

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Divine Act

For today's prompt, have something unexpected and uncontrollable happen. Some may call this an act of God or a divine act. In ironic cases, it may be dubbed cosmic irony. But whatever you call this thing that happens, it should be unexpected and something outside the control of the main characters.

For instance, a couple is enjoying a nice walk together on a trail with the sun out and no wind...when a tree suddenly falls. Maybe it lands on one of them. Or the tree could take out a bridge they needed to cross to get back to civilization. If not a tree, maybe the bridge just collapses when no one is on it, or there's a landslide. You know, just something random.

(5 Ways to Surprise Your Reader Without It Feeling Like a Trick.)

I had this happen in my life once when I was driving on a sunny day through a neighborhood and a utility pole fell across the road...right...in...front...of...me. Like if it had waited a few more seconds (or I'd driven a mile over the speed limit), I'd have been a goner. Super random. (Sort of like the Flitcraft Parable mentioned in this post.)

For lack of a better term, I call these moments divine acts. And you have to use these sparingly, because even when they "really happened," they do sound a little contrived. However, they can send your characters down new paths when something unexpected and uncontrollable happens. 

Plus, it gives them an opportunity to show their character when something unexpected happens: Do they get overwhelmed and excitable? Do they lock down and become unresponsive? Or will they rise to the challenge in ways even they would not have expected, because what other choice do they have?

(How to Write Disaster Stories Infused With Hope.)

So have an unexpected volcanic explosion or a car crash or whatever. Then, let your characters figure out what comes next.

*****

Build Your Novel Scene by Scene

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.

Click to continue.

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