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Stories with Twist Endings

Some tips on writing those very popular twist in the tail stories that editors love so much.

Stories with a twist ending are often popular with fiction editors. If you can write these, you increase your chances of getting published.

Unfortunately they’re not as easy to write as they appear. The ending needs to come as a surprise, not a shock. By that I mean that upon reaching the end of a story, the reader needs to say to themselves – of course, why didn’t I sere that coming, rather than feel cheated. For that to happen you have to lay various clues and hints along the way.

The hard part is making sure that those hints and clues aren’t so obvious and easy to spot that the ending of the story is guessed before the reader gets half way.

Think about this for a moment. Imagine you have invested many hours, reading a four hundred  page crime novel. You have tried to figure out who the murderer was from the various suspects encountered along the way, but when you get to the last page, the detective accidentally bumps into the murderer at a petrol station. The character hasn’t even featured in the book! You would feel cheated. You would not feel any happier if the  author told you the book was based on true events.

Sometimes a story does rely on something unusual happening. That’s when you need to use a  technique called prefiguring. For example, if your hero is going to pull out a gun and shoot somebody right between the eyes, you need to mention their shooting talents earlier in the story.

Before sending a twist in the tail story to an editor, ask a friend to read it first. If the twist ending works, send it off. If they guess the ending too soon, or feel cheated,  have another go.

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