Shocking Plot Twist Ideas

Shocking Plot Twist Ideas

Plot twist ideas! As with all plot twists, make sure these don't come out of nowhere. Plant little clues, otherwise your readers might feel blindsided in a bad way, and find it "too convenient" or cheap.


Identity Switch-Up

A character’s identity is suddenly called into question. They’re not who they/we thought! This can be due to:

  • They’re lying
  • They’re being lied to
  • Magic
  • Witness protection
  • Coping mechanism
  • Cloning
  • Changeling switch-up
  • Switched at birth
  • Espionage
  • Memory issues

Remember to leave clues and foreshadow this twist, or it’s going to look like it came out of nowhere.


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Villain is Betrayed

One of the villain’s trusted agents was working against them this whole time. This could be the king’s royal advisor, the planetary tyrant’s daughter, or the spy’s loyal ally, for example.

This can be a huge help for the heroes, and can humanise some of the “bad guys”. Give them a solid reason for this betrayal, and make sure it doesn’t come across as “too convenient”. Again, leaving clues will help.


Prophecy Was Wrong

The protagonist / the world made a bunch of choices based on a prophecy. Everyone took for granted that it would come true. The twist, is, the prophecy was wrong, or wrongly interpreted.

Maybe there were multiple ways to read the cryptic prophecy, and everyone missed the true meaning. Maybe the prophecy was fake, created as a strategy to mislead people.



Settings Lie

The characters are led to believe a certain thing about the setting they’re in, which turns out to be untrue. Examples include:

  • Resources are scarce and must be rationed (-> there’s plenty, but the rich hoard it)
  • There are no survivors except us (-> there’s a thriving society outside the town) It’s too dangerous out there, it’s full of monsters (-> civilisation out there is advanced and relatively safe)
  • Check out the free settings cheat sheet I made for you, linked in my bio!
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