Writing Prompt: Twist Ending

Written by Emily Harstone | August 29, 2013

One of the most controversial of all plot moves is the twist ending. A twist ending can make a great book better, as it does in Fight Club or in the short story The Lottery, but it can also ruin a book or movie if written improperly.

But it can be fun to write twist endings. One of my favorite ways to practice twist endings is with a partner. This exercise requires two writers.

This second writer can be there in person or you can do the exercise over the internet. Both options work equally as well.

Once you have that partner, each decide independently what you are going to write about. Then without telling the other what your subject matter is write the first page. The subject matters do not have to be related, one could be writing about the jungle, the other a dying parent.

Then after one page (or ten minutes) switch. Read over the others piece carefully. Make sure you understand the themes and content. Then start to write the conclusion, make sure to incorporate the same themes but go in an entirely different direction than the writer intended.

If it is not clear where the original author was headed then just try to make sure your ending is not an obvious one. For example no one dies or gets married, unless the story is about school or sharks.

It is so much fun to see your story with your writing partner’s ending. It should come as a complete surprise.

If you cannot find a partner to do this with you, just look up an online journal with short stories. Copy and paste the first page or two of a story on to your computer without reading the rest. Then you can complete the story in any way you see fit.

Afterwards you can read the story as the original author intended it to be written.