The Third Act Twist


2009-05-11-42_essential_3rd_act_twists

Image courtesy of Desden Codack webcomic, used totally without permission.
Click the link and Check out his stuff–It’s good!

So the time has come, if you’re writing a book in a month, to “bring it on home” as they say in the band. The third act twist is the thing in which one does just that. But you’ve got to dial it up. If you’ve been writing correctly, you’ve been edging the stakes ever higher in your poker game of a story, and your bluff is about to be called.
But the word ‘twist’ is a little misleading; it doesn’t actually HAVE to be unexpected or even reverse the whole course of everything. It just has to be something that escalates the plot, initiates the climax, and leads to a resolution.
This is the part where the character finally realizes there’s no way out but forward, where he’s INESCAPABLY bound for the climax, where the characters have no choice but to put it all on the line and gamble on victory–or whatever it is their goal is. Usually it’s also the time when things seem most hopeless, so a good idea for a third act twist is to take away hope from the characters AND the reader.
(I’d go into this in more detail, but I’ve got a book to write and I’m behind already, so…Promise you a post on it later, okay?)

The above image illustrates some fine twists, but I want to hear what you think. What are your favorite twists in reading? What is an ending or climactic twist you’ve used in your writing? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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