I’m beginning to find it more difficult to find books that shock, scare or surprise me, one of my priorities when choosing what to read. I love trying to guess endings and I’m always happiest when I fail to do so.
I agree with the notion that when a book announces a twist, shocking revelation or surprise ending they’ve already eliminated those exact qualities.
We’re prepared for what’s to come and immediately start picking up on any hints and red herrings subconsciously, if not on purpose.
However, there needs to be connections to the end result earlier in the book to make them feasible. When a surprise comes straight out of left field and has no build up it feels lazy and sometimes makes no sense at all.
It’s a very nuanced art and (I assume) extremely difficult to balance the right amount of direction without paving the way to an obvious conclusion.
Often I’ll see reviewers rave about how they ‘never saw it coming’ and secretly roll my eyes, but I’ve also been amazed by revelations other readers had easily predicted.
For me a plot twist is a major factor in any suspense, crime or thriller novel. Done wrong it can leave me indifferent to the books other redeeming qualities. Done right it can rocket a mediocre read to much higher standing.
How do you feel about plot twists?
Do you have any good examples I should read?