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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
So there is a thing what I am writing. As of this morning, it has… 
5th-Mar-2010 09:44 am
Writing - photo
So there is a thing what I am writing.

As of this morning, it has become clear that, within it, there was a significant Twist.

Now, I worry about this. In the days of M. Night Shymalan, can a Twist be pulled off? At all? Or will it just make the reader roll their eyes?

If the book you're reading has a Twist, do you eyeroll and set it aside; does it spoil your enjoyment?

Yes
5(2.9%)
No
50(28.9%)
Depends
118(68.2%)


Related: This story is going to kill me dead.
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
5th-Mar-2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
Agree(1)
5th-Mar-2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
Stupid mouse! I meant 'no'.

I like twists. Like any other literary device, they can be used poorly and fuck things up. But when used properly, they are neat and awesome.
5th-Mar-2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
~seconds this~
5th-Mar-2010 02:50 pm (UTC)

The twist has to be good. The twist has to be twisting the awesome knob up to 12.

later
Tom
5th-Mar-2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
The twist has to be good, breathtaking.
5th-Mar-2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
I loved O. Henry for about 4 stories, and then it got boring.

The Twist can be awesome if it's done right, or it can feel like the Hand of $Deity coming down to warp the plot just right, which spoils it entirely. I do not like The Hand coming down and smacking the plot around, there has to be a valid reason for The Twist, one I can look back and acknowledge, or it's just another book I shouldn't have bought.
5th-Mar-2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
As you know, I consider good writing to be something that transcends twists. A twist merely for the sake of a twist is weak (unless used for a short-form humor piece -- think of the Tall Tales told at Callahan's), but a twist as a part of a story, as long as it's internally consistent, is fine. Remember that most stories have, from the POV of the characters, a twist (the death of or betrayal by a friend, the revelation of the murderer, etc). Pretty much every episode of Leverage has a twist ("here's how they really pulled off the con"), and there's no problem there. Emma Bull's Bone Dance comes to mind as a novel with a twist, but the twist was essential to the plot, and drives the plot and themes forward.
5th-Mar-2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Twists, to me, need to feel earned. I want the characters to have a genuine reaction to them. I read a recent novel with a twist, and one of the maddening things about the twist was that the characters didn't seem to have much reaction to it, even though it was a fundamental assumption about a major character being proved wrong. (It didn't help that several characters already knew the twist, so it wouldn't have much impact on them. So what was the point of the twist in that book?)

As frustrated as I was with Spider-Man 3, at least Peter's reaction to his uncle's murder case being reopened felt genuine. The problem was all the contrivance needed to fit that murder into the third film's plot.

Do it. Do the twist. You can make it work.
5th-Mar-2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
You should do The Twist too. You dancing is good.
5th-Mar-2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
On the whole, I enjoy Twists, but I've become cynical if I haven't been told that a character actually died in an apparently mortal situation.

Maybe the Twist could be that they're actually dead.
5th-Mar-2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
I love twists. All too often in what I'm reading or watching, I figure everything out before the end and putter through bored. A twist wakes me up and re-engages me.
5th-Mar-2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
I like twists - particularly if they are well done :)
5th-Mar-2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
I only love Twists if I can't see them coming. But if I can't -- I LOVE LOVE them.
7th-Mar-2010 11:09 am (UTC)
This too. I do often see them coming when they are badly written (or acted/directed in films and TV).
5th-Mar-2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
I am frequently able to see a Twist coming. Especially ones that are predicated on genderfuck. I have apparently always had this ability -- there was an Agatha Christie I read when I was ten or so, and a key clue involved everyone assuming one gender for a twin, and I was all "wtf, why do they all think that? everything makes more sense the other way."

So my requirement with a Twist is that if I can see it coming, there have to be good reasons for the characters NOT to see it, so it doesn't feel like authorial cheating.
5th-Mar-2010 03:36 pm (UTC) - The twist has to be reasonable
You can't have a Bobby Ewing shower scene or have everything be the result of extraterrestrial aliens manipulating things behind the scenes. If the twist passes the test of reasonableness, then okay, I may even love the twist. You're way past fanfic in skill and experience, so I won't be insulting and compare you there, but bad twists are one of the few things that will lead me to destroy a book rather than pass it along.

Edited at 2010-03-05 03:36 pm (UTC)
5th-Mar-2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Definitely Depends.

First, on which Twist. Some have been beaten to death, then beaten into glue. Others are contrived plot devices, creative crutches at best. For the record, I do acknowledge that genuinely new Twists are becoming sparse in this digital age.

Secondly, on how it's delivered. If it amounts to "Hi, I just dropped a dead fish in your lap"... Uh, no. Even a well worn Twist can still work if it makes sense in the big picture, and doesn't require shoehorn/duct tape/heavy staples to be in the story.

All that said... For your story, if this Twist is what you're seeing, I say roll with it. :)
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