Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Surprise

At YA Outside the Lines, we've been blogging all month about endings. My contribution is about surprise twist endings. Which I love in fiction, if not so much in life.

It can be difficult to bring off a surprise twist without its feeling gimmicky; another danger is the reader feeling betrayed by the misdirection. But it can be satisfying if we think we are plodding toward a predictable resolution, only to find ourselves transported somewhere else. Every now and then, a surprise is a delight.

4 comments:

  1. Twists are fun when done right! I wrote a short story with a bit of a twist. Managed to get it published. I think I tend to feel less "cheated" or *un*pleasantly surprised if it's a twist at the end of something shorter. For a novel, it's harder for me to accept the twist as a reader..."Harry was a Horcrux" I can get behind; there were clues littered throughout. Same with most twist endings by Diana Wynne Jones. But if Harry Potter had woken up in his cupboard under the stairs after a really weird dream, after all that time, I might have thrown the book across the room. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has to be set up carefully, and fit with the rest of the story. If it just comes out of nowhere and negates everything that went before, you're right, it feels like a cheat.

      Delete
  2. I read your post about the surprise endings and now I have a few more books to add to my to-read list. I've read "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and indeed the end was twisty. I've heard of "The List" but didn't know it's a book with a twisty ending. I too like fiction with twists. Maybe it's because I've read lots of Agatha Christie when I was younger, but whenever I hear that a book or movie comes with a twist, I pay extra attention to every small detail. Sometimes I guess the twist but it's also just as satisfying when I don't guess it but I can see the work the author had done to bring me to the finale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy reading!
      I like when the twists seem to fit the book somehow, to illuminate as well as surprise. That's when they don't seem gimmicky.

      Delete