I just finished reading Alloy of Law, A Mistborn Story by Brandon Sanderson. I’d been hesitant because it’s a western fantasy, which isn’t exactly my reading preference.
But I enjoyed the Mistborn series and have been having a desperately hard time finding good new fantasies to read.
Halfway through I wouldn’t have called it one of my favorites. But the twist at the end totally blew me away, something Sanderson is very good at. And it got me thinking.
Can a sensational ending with a great plot twist make a story amazing even if the rest of the story is so-so?
My conclusion is yes.
I’ve blogged prior about the importance of endings. No matter how good a story starts or how well it carries the reader along, a bad ending will ruin a perfect book.
But a great ending can make up for so much because it leaves you satisfied and craving more of the same from that author.
I consider Sanderson a master of the plot twist, sometimes too much so (Hero of Ages had too many twists in my opinion). I wouldn’t see myself as a plot twist expert, although all of my stories include them.
See the difficulty lies in setting up the twist well enough to be plausible, but not so obvious that everyone figures it out before the reveal.
An irrational plot twist requires the reader to suspend too much disbelief to buy it, and an obvious one makes the story fall flat. I want my readers to reach a plot twist and go, “Woah, I didn’t see that coming – I have no clue where this is headed now.”
Because that keeps the pages turning 🙂
So, what do you think? Do you enjoy massive plot twists in your reading? As an author do you view them as a necessary tool in your writing? Or do they annoy you altogether?