Are you looking for plot twist ideas for romance? Read on for plot twist ideas like a mixed-up coat, which explains the presence of that alluring note on the coat pocket, to an answer that has been under your character’s note all this while!
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Table of Content
- What’s a Plot Twist?
- Why Employ a Plot Twist?
- How to Execute a Plot Twist
- Plot Twist Ideas
What’s a Plot Twist?
A plot twist is a literary device that presents a significant alteration in the direction or expected result of the story. A plot twist may occur anywhere in the story but when it does at or near the end of a story, it is referred to as a twist or surprise ending.
Here are some amazing stories with unexpected plot twists:
- Gone Girl (Gilllian Flynn)
- Atonement (Ian McEwann)
- Behind Her Eyes (Sarah Pinborough)
- Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)
Why Employ a Plot Twist?
“Romance never dies.” It’s the best selling genres of all time. There has been so many rendition of romance story and thus plot twists are important to capture the audience’s attention, pump the readers’ adrenaline and keep the scenes engaging.
Just as Robert Lee Brewer says here, adding a plot twist might be the answer when you hit a wall on your writing project, when perhaps you know where your characters need to go but aren’t sure how to get them there, or when the story has become stale, but you still believe in it.
How to Execute a Plot Twist
A plot twist may be hinted at or foreshadowed so that it doesn’t come off as jarring. A plot twist can be carried out in a variety of ways, including withholding information or misleading viewers with unclear or incorrect information.
Utilize these plot twists in your story:
- A revelation of one’s secret identity or nature. Example: Oedipus’ secret identity as the son of the woman he’s marrying.
- A flashback, non-linear narrative and reverse chronology essentially allow authors to withhold pieces of plot-crucial information from readers until they deem it appropriate to disclose it.
- Unreliable narrator giving the readers a false or twisted information.
- A character’s reversal of fortune, be it for better or worse, sudden or gradual. The anthology television series Twilight Zone is famous for utilizing a sudden reversal of fortune. Also, Ned Stark. I still get that gut punch feeling whenever I think about his fate.
- Deus ex machina, which is someone or something that’s brought into the story for the sole purpose of resolving the plot.
- Red herring, which is a purposeful misdirection to distract the protagonist of the story, and the readers by extension.
Plot Twist Ideas
Without further ado! Here are 50 plot twist ideas that are perfect for romance but also completely adaptable to almost any story. Please note that all the genders in these prompts are just placeholders and are not meant to enforce any hurtful stereotype nor offend anyone.
You can use these plot twists at the beginning of the story as red herrings, or in the middle to spice up the narrative, or tie them towards the end of your romance story as revelations that turn the entire story upside down.
- Mixed up orders at the pharmacy, which explains why that medicine doesn’t seem to work on your character!
- Mixed up coats at the coat check or dresses at the bridal gown rental, which explains the presence of that alluring handwritten note inside of your character’s coat pocket!
- The hotel receptionist, or the bartender, gets the identity of their patrons mixed up, and sends the wrong drink or the wrong luggage to the wrong person.
- One long-forgotten trinket is a Chekov’s gun. Although it doesn’t seem important at the beginning of the story, by the end of the narrative it’s clear that it’s the most important thing in the story.
- One wrong address.
- One coin toss that completely spins the entire narrative around.
- One local event, like carnival, festival or circus that seems to appear out of nowhere to disrupt your character’s day.
- One seat, two desperate passengers. Furthermore, the bystanders seem to encourage them to “battle it out”.
- One empty fitting room left, two hurried patrons.
- Two swapped signs at the public bathroom or sauna center.
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A surprise character making an appearance could spice up the plot and serve as one of a potentially delicious plot twist ideas for romance. This is especially true if the characters in question were the meddling type, or the type of person who tends to invite disaster.
- An old acquaintance.
- A secret child, or alternatively, a lost child who gets stuck with your character.
- An unknown sibling.
- An unknown, twin sibling.
- A birth parent.
- A step parent.
- A step sibling.
- An unexpected ally (a boss, a celebrity, another famous figure, etc).
- An unexpected enemy (the pet, the child next door, the mailman, a celebrity, etc).
- Someone who’s been flying under the radar who, then, turns out to be an important character to the story, or a catalyst that serves to deepen the plot (the humble garbage guy, the quiet bouncer at the bar, the bellboy or doorman).
A surprising event in a romantic story could introduce a challenge that would toughen up your character(s), or, alternatively, break them. Either way, it’s good drama!
- A sudden job assignment.
- A natural disaster.
- A dream.
- A rumor.
- An answer has always been under your character’s nose all this while (perhaps in a book that’s always literally left open in their work desk, or in the background picture of their laptop, or a picture framed on their bedside).
- A doctor’s diagnosis.
- A once in a lifetime gig opportunity. In addition, pursuing it requires your character to let go of everything they hold dear.
- A character suddenly passes away or disappears, and in addition, they left your main character a note.
- Your character finds something in an unlikely place (inside their food, in their closet, in their lawn, etc).
- The internet, or the phone signal, is down for a period of time. Furthermore, it creates a misunderstanding between your characters.
An unanticipated revelation that turns your character’s life upside down could be one of the most effective heart-wrenching plot twist ideas for your romance story, especially an unexpected or subversion to an old cliché or tired trope.
- The antagonist is someone close to your main character (a sibling, a parent, a neighbor, a coworker).
- The antagonist falls for your main character.
- The antagonist is the protagonist, or vice versa.
- Secret identities, where the antagonist or the protagonist is someone who’s long been dead, or only exists in fiction or myth.
- A legend, or a myth, turns out to be true. Or a well-known and trusted method or common sense turns out to be wrong.
- A family secret, and furthermore, it’s dark and horrifying.
- Your character meets their hero, and then, it turns out that they’re nothing like what your character expected. Or, alternatively, your character meets their archenemy and it turns out that they’re nothing like what your character expected.
- “It’s all just a dream!” Or alternatively, “it’s all just a hallucination.” But be careful, these tropes could be infuriating when done untastefully.
- Or do a subversion on those tropes, where the readers believe a subplot in the story is a dream or hallucination, only for it to be real.
- No one is the antagonist. Or alternatively, no one is the protagonist.
It’s a plot twist in your romance story where a simple problem turns into something more complicated. It could be a source of contention for your characters, or the very thing that brings them together.
- An innocent animal which is the culprit for a slew of misfortunate events.
- A faux pas
- A simple problem in your character’s house (a hairline crack at the wall, a broken clock, a loose tile, etc) that turns out to be something more!
- A machine (laundry machine, copy machine, coffee maker) breaks down.
- Your character loses their house key, again.
- Your character’s friend loses their pet, and then, they blame it on your main character.
- Your character breaks or loses something belonging to their love interest or their rival.
- Your character kills their friend’s plant.
- A queue at the coffee shop that ruins your character’s whole day.
- Your character forgets something (wallet, sunscreen, ticket, etc.)
Still need some more inspiration? Check these out.
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“…A master class in crafting plots that twist and turn…” ~Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author of You’ll Never Know, Dear
Or perhaps, you’ve already figured out all the necessary plot twists and turns, but somethings still feel amiss?
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Meaningful conflict is so much more than just a series of twists and turns. This second book of The Conflict Thesaurus will test your characters both inside and out with over 100 tension-inducing circumstances.
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If you’re looking for more plot ideas and prompts, be sure to check these out:
Until next time!