I really don’t dislike plot twist. I think they are necessary. But some plot twist either will work or not (hence my title). They serve a purpose there and if it was done right then it makes the story a whole lot better. I admit there were times that I was totally caught off guard when the story decided to drop an effing ‘reveal’ bomb on me. But some came pathetic; others just completely out of the blue and sometimes were only there to elicit some cheap shock factor. As good citizen of planet fandom, I bear good news— *coughs* er, actually it’s just a list of my top plot twist sometimes works for me or the worst kind, totally ruin it! (Spoilers are unmarked, you have been warned. Read on, you brave soldiers.)
X is relative to Y (and I don’t mean the Math kind!)
Work: if it’s not out of the blue. Please don’t do the “I’m your *insert blood relation here.*” speech like Dart Vader when not a single hint or development was there. Leave subtle hints for me to think and not only just to surprise. Example: Nash and Todd being brothers. Nash was leaving hints but obviously evasive of their real relationship. When he admitted it did made sense.
Break: I rather chose the obvious (like we all knew that Naruto is Yondaime’s son, not a shocker there) than out of the blue confession which for me looks like cheap device to surprise your readers. Example: America’s father was part of the rebel group. You see, I don’t care anymore and you were two books too late for that!
No slacking! Don’t do the Deus ex Machina!
So you put your protagonist in a pile of mess, after mess, after mess, after freaking mess. And you can’t get him out. So what to do? Use the magic of deus ex machine! Nope, unforgivable. Don’t complicate the plot line and make the resolve seemingly simple. It’s aggravating because I just don’t read, I sometimes theorize. And it’s frustrating if the answer is too simple than the question.
Work: Will never work. Just don’t do this.
Break: It’s always a deal breaker for me.
You killed him? You really killed him?!
Death of a character, particularly the important one is heavily agonizing. I mean, you invested on this character, you root for him and the author killed him? I have a fair share of favorites that met their sudden demise. But I’m not mad if it happens, I think it will—
Work: if the death was crucial to the growth of the character/s or plot development (in best case scenarios, both), I with heavy heart will accept it. Example: Finnick, even though I didn’t like how it went, I think his death was necessary.
Break: Cheap shock factor? Usually I deemed the reason to be always this because not only the character died, it wasn’t even good exit. Like sayonara, you have served your purpose *kicks him out of picture!* Example: Ren freaking Larouche! They stripped him off of everything and decided to kill him. And it wasn’t even graceful exit! Come on! And Tris? But do I really care? *shrugs*
But wait, he didn’t actually die, he was actually—
ALIVE?! You’re alive?!!
You freaking resurrected the guy?! Like in some deus ex machina kind of way he was alive and not the just undead kind. Beating heart and all that! I’m should be thrilled but that’s not always the case.
Work: if it can supported the resurrection. Not every story has the handy Edo Tensei or dragon balls you can wish to bring people back to life . Leave that these things to Goku and Naruto’s world but if the story can explain properly how he escaped death then we’re all good here.
Break: Again the shock factor and this time, the cheapest kind. Not only had it decided to shock readers by killing this character but it wasn’t true and he miraculously lives with only a half-assed explanation on how he was still alive. Example: Again Ren, I didn’t bother to read the spin-of though. I mean what’s the use? I’m already over it!
No book is perfect for everyone. I too sometimes ignore the flaws of the story if I did end up liking the book in spite of the flaws. And that means a whole lot more than faultless story.
How about you, any deal breaker plot twist you detest? Care to share it with me.