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Plot Twist Story Prompts: False Flag

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters run a false flag operation.

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, Map It Out, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: False Flag

Plot Twist Story Prompts: False Flag

For today's prompt, have your characters run a false flag operation. So first question for many may be: What is a false flag operation? It's an act that is done to pin the blame on someone else and/or strain relations between two parties. Many examples involve violent acts (like bombing a building with civilians in it and blaming the act on your enemies), but I'm a little more open minded when considering this plot twist.

(A Good Story Must Be Disturbing.)

For instance, a nonviolent false flag operation could be the following: Person A writes a love letter as Person B to Person C and lets Person D see it to convince them that Person B is in love with Person C (perhaps so that Person A can get with Person D?). Or someone eats the last piece of cake but leaves evidence that would make it seem as if their enemy (and/or sibling) ate the last piece.

William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello is an incredible example of this type of plot twist perpetuated by one of the Bard's greatest antagonists, Iago. In the play, Iago brings about the downfall of his supposed friend Othello by falsely implicating his wife Desdemona in an extra-marital affair and building his jealousy with false pieces of evidence. A simple (nonviolent) false flag leads to much death and despair.

The really strong element of a false flag plot twist is that only the people perpetuating the false flag know the true story. As a result, innocent people find themselves persecuted for doing nothing wrong, and persecutors find themselves leveling judgment against the wrong people. As the author, you get to decide when and how to reveal that to your readers (and whether to reveal it to your other characters).

So have your characters run a false flag operation, and see what happens next.

*****

40 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers, Volume 2: ALL NEW Writing Ideas for Taking 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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