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View Full Version : Twist endings, love 'em or hate 'em?



Cath
05-22-2007, 04:05 PM
So, what do you prefer?

Personally, I like them, but not all the time. A twist, for me, fulfills the function of something changing in the story -- the character changing or developing as a result of the action in the story, but I don't think it's essential to make the story work.

Do you like them or loathe them? and why?

DeborahM
05-22-2007, 04:16 PM
I love a good twist either reading or writing it!!

Stijn Hommes
05-22-2007, 04:22 PM
I like twist endings about as much as cute puppies (a lot), provided that they're functional and aren't the cliche ones you see so often.

Dawno
05-22-2007, 06:02 PM
A lot of them disappoint me. It needs to be a very good twist ending to make me happy about it because I've merrily wandered through the book expecting one thing and *whoomp!* there's a twist! Or the foreshadowing has been too heavy and it's not really a big surprize.

dobiwon
05-22-2007, 06:26 PM
I like twist endings for very short pieces like those posted here on this forum.

For full-length books, I prefer that somewhere much earlier, the idea that a twist might be in store should begin to creep in. Someplace within the body of the work I need to start thinking that the "obvious" conclusion isn't the only conclusion. Whether this qualifies as a true twist or not, I'm not sure, but I'm generalizing enough that any ending that isn't the same as the first possible ending I thought of, is a twist ending.

For very short stories, I can usually keep my attention focused long enough to get to the end even if I think the ending will be obvious. Then I'm pleasantly rewarded by a clever twist.

(Plus, they're fun to write)

Kate Thornton
05-25-2007, 01:05 AM
I like a clever twist - a double if it's really good. I think flash lends itself to twist endings given that the author must pack a wallop into a short space.

jvc
05-26-2007, 07:33 PM
I agree with Kate, that flash does tend to lend itself to a twist ending, although it has to be a good one for me to like it. I personally love twist clever endings.

jhtatroe
05-26-2007, 07:47 PM
I enjoy clever twists, but I don't think they're necessary and I definitely won't love a story that has nothing but a twist to recommend it. A couple of days ago, I read a fabulous flash fiction story that was nothing but a moment of moral dilemma. The payoff at the end was every bit as good as a story with a twist and I find my mind drifting back to it much more often.

Penman Shipp
05-26-2007, 08:37 PM
I like 'em. A great part of artistic presentation is leaving an outcome open to the interpretation of the viewer (reader).

So -- twisting the ending can be icing on the cake.

Why did Twilight Zone do so well ??

TB4me2000
05-27-2007, 01:24 AM
I like them in general, but I hate seeing them over and over and over again. In my creative writing class last semester, we were workshopping sudden fiction. Almost every story had a twist, so, you know, three hours into the class, you read the first sentence and you're already wondering what the twist is going to be.

Soccer Mom
05-27-2007, 02:41 AM
I love a good twist. And short fiction lends itself admirably to the twist. It simply needs some sort of punch at the end. It's like a bit of cheesecake with a dollop of cream.

Then again, I also adore a great character study.

What makes a great twist?

I think there is a difference in the ending that makes you say "Oh! Why didn't I see that coming!" and the one that makes you say "WTF?"

Pthom
05-27-2007, 08:31 AM
I guess I prefer the term "surprise" ending over "twist." Often a twist is like the punch line to a joke. They can be delightful, or painfully punny, or as Dawno hinted at, not very surprising at all. More often than not, I prefer a mild twist, where the ending isn't exactly as you might expect, but not a complete turn around from where you thought the story was leading.

nevada
05-27-2007, 09:39 AM
I detest twist endings. If I can go back and see things in a new light and think to myself, "Why didnt I see that coming?" I dont mind them. But those twists that come out of nowhere just to make a boring story interesting? I despise them. Loathe them even. I think it's a lazy way of writing a story, a way for the author to not bother coming up with a real plot.

I just finished reading a book by an author whose name i wont mention *CoughMoHaydercough*. It was the second book I read by her. THe first book, The Devil of Nanking, that I read by her was brilliant. So I thought, hey, let me try another one. So I spent $25 to buy her new trade paperback, Pig Island. I'm reading along, not as good as Devil, and I'm not sure where it's going, when BAM on the last page there is a twist. A twist that is not alluded to at all throughout the whole book, a twist that only works if the police, who have been really smart so far, suddenly become morons. I was so mad, i threw the book on the floor and kicked it under the dresser. I was mad for days. Just telling you makes me furious all over again.

Twist endings (not endings that shed previous events in a different light) alleviate the need for the writer to have to come up with three dimensional characters, an actual plot, or anything else that resembles real fiction. They are second-rate attempts at "cleverness" most often seen in second-rate magazines like Woman's World.

But hey, thats just my opinion. :)

Cassiopeia
05-27-2007, 11:43 AM
I prefer a surprise ending. I feel that when it is properly written, meaning subtly with finesse so there isn't that huge whomp or too much foreshadowing it is much for fulfilling to read. I love a book that is a page turner.

Jacob Spire
05-27-2007, 02:33 PM
My favorite endings are the "and then he woke up" ones.

jvc
05-27-2007, 09:34 PM
Twist (or surprise) endings I don't think should come out of nowhere and be totally contradictory to the rest of a novel (although here we are talking about short stories :) ), it has to be believable and have at least some foreshadowing. I prefer this to be subtle, so on a second read I can get something new from the story which I may not have picked up on with the first read.

But although I like twist endings (and write them in my own stories a lot) I do like stories to have, what I like to call 'a snappy ending' as I've seen a lot of short stories simply filter out. So the ending, regardless of twist, have to be snappy, for me to like it.

stormie
05-27-2007, 09:42 PM
What makes a great twist?

I think there is a difference in the ending that makes you say "Oh! Why didn't I see that coming!" and the one that makes you say "WTF?"

I love twist endings, as long as it's the former of what Soccer Mom said, not the latter. I remember years ago reading a winning entry in the Writer's Digest short story contest , where I sat there and thought "Huh?" (WD gave me a copy of the winners stories at that time, for placing in the monthly contest). After reading that winning entry, I threw the magazine out.

Vanatru
05-27-2007, 10:31 PM
I think there is a difference in the ending that makes you say "Oh! Why didn't I see that coming!" and the one that makes you say "WTF?"

Agreed. Mysteries that have a twist at the last minute based off information the reader didn't have are really annoying to me.

"The murder weapon was lance, from the Light Brigade. Colonel Mustard, we see by your service record that you served with Major Mayonnaise in the Crimea; therefore you are the killer!"

And you didn't know that tidbit until that point, but the MC received a letter, reads it, and doesn't reveal to the reader what was in it. Most annoying.

Those kinda twists I can do without.

Twizzle
06-08-2007, 11:13 PM
I despise them. Loathe them even. I think it's a lazy way of writing a story, a way for the author to not bother coming up with a real plot.

Twist endings (not endings that shed previous events in a different light) alleviate the need for the writer to have to come up with three dimensional characters, an actual plot, or anything else that resembles real fiction. They are second-rate attempts at "cleverness" most often seen in second-rate magazines like Woman's World. :)

YES!!!! nevada, you just totally summed up everything I have ever felt about twist endings. I cannot stand how writers will tack a twist ending on and the story becomes about the ending. don't tell me your grandmother is a cat. tell me how life is with a cat as a grandmother. argh.

and please, no more "and then she woke up." please please please

Cassiopeia
06-09-2007, 12:24 AM
So the ending, regardless of twist, have to be snappy, for me to like it.Could you explain to me what you mean by snappy. That could mean so many things and is a bit vague. Thanks, Jed. :)

Turtle07
06-09-2007, 04:41 AM
I like them. It's fun to get an unexpected ending because it leaves you with questions and endless answers to them based on what you read!

nancy02664
06-10-2007, 08:18 AM
I tend to like them. (Though I don't like it when a twist ending is used to sort of 'redeem' a weak plot, like some sort of crutch.)

Ali B
06-11-2007, 12:40 AM
Love them if they are done well. I love when all the hints come together and you say, "Ahh...Why didn't I figure that out sooner?"