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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Action

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, we'll look at how an unexpected action by a character can send the action in a new direction.

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, Antagonist Gain, here.

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Action

For today's prompt, have one of your characters do something unexpected. This unexpected action could be for good or evil. Maybe a character who is normally likable gives in to jealousy and commits a spiteful action (that they may or may not feel guilt over later in the story). Perhaps an antagonist does something unexpectedly nice.

(5 moral dilemmas that make characters and stories better.)

Keep in mind that you don't have to reveal who performed the unexpected action immediately. While there are many literary examples, the one that keeps popping in my head this morning is from the original theatrical release of The Blair Witch Project (spoiler alert).

For those who have not watched that movie, three people go into the woods to film a documentary about this local legend. While in the woods, they lose their way and then their map. All three look for it together, but eventually one of the characters reveals that he threw the map away (I believe he gave the reason that it wasn't helping them anyway).

Whether you reveal the character's unexpected action in real time or later in the story, the unexpected action—when used sparingly—can shake up a story in a good way.

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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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