How to Write a Plot Twist


Twists are good in books. Everyone (well, unless it’s not in the favor of your favorite character) enjoys a good, thought out plot twist. Perhaps it’s betrayal. Maybe it’s sudden death, or the character having the wrong ingredients for their world-saving smoothie. I have lots of twists in my books, and from what beta readers have told me, I pull them off fairly well. However, if you ever read The Siren’s Stone, my first book, you’ll know that I liked to throw in twists at random. “THEY’RE ALL MERMAIDS!” “THEY’RE IN LOVE!”* “BETRAYALLLLL! DEATH! SADNESS!”**

So obviously I had to learn that if I wanted to do that, I needed it to make sense. And also not set books in real places with no explanation of magic and people turning randomly into mermaids and/or dying.


This one is important. Guys, if one of your characters is planning something that your MC isn’t, please, please foreshadow it. Now, I’m not asking you to have one of your characters overhear them plotting nefariously. (Not even sure that’d be foreshadowing anymore… that might just be the reveal.) And I don’t mean foreshadowing by the MC going “I had a sudden feeling they were going to try to murder me in my sleep.”

Instead of the MC saying/thinking that, have your MC see them sharpening a knife. Maybe it looks suspicious. Maybe it looks normal. It all depends on the character. A lot of times, “throwaway lines” that technically build character are great for foreshadowing. Maybe one of your characters makes a joke about how they’ve always thought it’d be easiest to kill someone sleeping. (Jokes are often a great way to reveal character/foreshadowing.) Maybe your character is forced to kill someone else and doesn’t act as sad or disturbed as they ought to be. There are hundreds of ways to use little character quirks to foreshadow and make your twist make sense.


If your MC doesn’t react, does a twist even matter? If someone they were friends with suddenly dies and they just shrug it off, how much will your reader actually care about the death? I think it was… Hunger Games, maybe (I haven’t read it) that someone was complaining to me about, because one of the characters died really suddenly and no one stopped to care about it.

People often throw twists about for the shock factor, but that just confuses the reader. Make your character be in a vulnerable moment– be it happy or sad– and twist the world around on top of them. One of my characters gets betrayed when they are in a moment of deep despair. I remember… Okay, I admit, I was laughing as I wrote it, but that was only because I could feel the character’s and reader’s pain and knew the shock for both. Plus, the foreshadowing I intentionally wove in would make it even more fun for someone who read it with the twist in mind. (I know this because, even after all my times of reading it, I still grin when I read over my own foreshadowing. I’m rather proud of it. 😛 )

Liar, Liar

There’s a book I read once (Or maybe listened to an audio book of) that I liked fairly well. It had to do with boys in an orphanage and a search for a long-lost prince. (That may not have been the exact premise, but bear with me– it’s been a while since I read the story.) From what I remember, it was Anastasia-esque, with the boys being trained to appear to be the long lost prince and fool the kingdom, gaining the money or power or whatever. All this was good and logical. You read most of the chapters from one character’s POV. Because of the way these stories go, it wasn’t hard to guess that one of the boys would turn out to be none other than the prince.

And then the POV character up and revealed that he, in fact, was the prince. He, whom we had trusted to tell the story faithfully in first-person-past-tense. This was supposed to be the “amazing twist” and the “great reveal.” Unreliable narrators are fine. Character misunderstandings are fine. Characters lying to each other are fine.

Characters lying to the reader for 3/4 of the book are not fine. Characters making up a fake backstory are not fine. It was supposed to be an amazing reveal, but it just got dropped on me. I felt shocked, sure– but the twist felt like it had been thrown in just for shock value. Some random twist to make the reader feel stupid and cheated– because apparently this character could become a completely different person at a pen drop, and apparently his thoughts and emotions were filtered for the audience.

forgive the rant.

All that to say, please do not let your POV– specifically first person POV– character straight up lie to the reader for the entirety of a book. Suspense is one thing (“Were they able to retrieve the long-lost gem?”) lying is another (“Wait, the MC– who’s thoughts I’ve been reading the whole time– actually wanted to kill everyone?”)

All That To Say…

I think the biggest way to pull off a plot twist can be summed up with this: Make the reader feel enlightened. Make them suddenly understand why X was acting weird. Make them notice that other characters in the know had already seemed odd, and that off-hand comment that struck a nerve actually had a purpose.

Most authors try to write plot twists that make people feel. However, this can lead to people feeling cheated or feeling confused. With the right amounts of foreshadowing and truth, your twist can be believable. Add a bit of vulnerability from other characters– shocked joy, intense sorrow, distraught confusion– and you can make a scene pleasing both to logic and emotion.

What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment of plot twists? Is there anything you’d add?

*A result of too many Disney movies.

**I fully admit to still doing this in my books, but I would say I pull it of much more gracefully thanks to what I’ve learned about foreshadowing.


Happy Birthday To Em Gades!


Being a character would be a miserable life, methinks. You’re constantly having the worst of the worst happen to you, your own author is trying to break you as much as possible, and your best friends are dying all around you. (Or you’re dying, as being a side character increases those chances by 31.29838%.) However, the lovely thing about being a character is that you can be sixteen two years ago, seventeen last year, and sixteen again this year because your author is going back and editing– all while being only two years old, because your name wasn’t written on paper until two years ago.

All that to say– Em Renee Gades turns… 18? Maybe? Two?

And as celebration, I ask you to enjoy these lovely pictures from her Pinterest Board.

Guest Post: K. Phelps


From E. K.— I’d like to introduce all of you to my lovely friend, K. Phelps. I met her a couple of years ago in school, and we bonded over our shared love of writing. K is now in her freshman year of college, studying psychology. She writes mostly fiction—specifically dystopian and dark fantasy, though she’s dabbled in horror. She’s a stellar multitasker– working on both short stories and novels, though she has a couple of novels that she’s focusing on right now. I’ll not bore you anymore. Take it away, K!

What I Write

Writing has been a rather long journey for me. I’ve always done things related to writing, and I’ve tried my hand at writing throughout my life, but it wasn’t until high school that I decided writing was something I wanted to pursue. And now, I’m here today to share a bit about my writing process. 

My favorite thing about writing, and thus what I tend to spend the most time on, is the characters. I don’t start writing with the characters, but it’s usually the first thing that I work on when I have the beginnings of a plot. Characters are the lifeblood of my writing process because, frequently, my settings, my themes, and even my plot will revolve around them to a certain extent. 

My biggest struggle when it comes to writing has to be plot. I typically have a pretty clear image of how I want the story to end, and I have clear scenes that I want to include; I often even know how I want the story to start. But the middle of the story, connecting all the dots and adding in material in between scenes that isn’t fluff is the hardest aspect of writing for me. The most effective way for me to combat this is to just write it all the way through however it comes to mind when I’m writing until I get to that ending. Then I rewrite from the beginning, cutting the fluff bit by bit and replacing it with stronger material, as I now have a clear image of where the story should go. 

My Writing Process

My writing process starts with brainstorming and imagining bits and pieces of stories in my head (usually with dramatic music to accompany them). For my brainstorming, I employ a stream of consciousness method, where I start out with a question or a concept I’d like to dig into, then  write anything and everything that comes to mind about the subject. 

Once the idea is secured, I spend a lot of “prep work,” which is usually made up of imagining scenes until I have a sort of loosely sketched out plan for the overall plot, writing scenes to get a better sense of the characters and finding music I associate with the story (one of my favorite parts of prep work; there’s rarely a moment of the day that I don’t have my earbuds in my ears). The vast majority of my prep work involves character development. I like to make my characters feel as real to me as possible before I start formally writing; I like to have detailed backstories, their weaknesses, strengths, fears and insecurities; even something as insignificant as their favorite food or style of music is important to me because it’s a minor detail I can incorporate that helps them feel more real. More than anything, I want my characters to have struggles. I want them each to have their own personal arcs that are interwoven throughout the overarching plot. Using the MC’s from my current project, New Paradise, as an example, Korrina spends the trilogy finding her place and her confidence, while Graham tries to figure out who he should trust, if he should trust anyone, and Sai comes to terms with his traumatic past, but they’re all still working together to achieve their goals. 

Next comes the plot. I tend to find my plot along the way, but I try to write with an ending in mind. Now, this strategy gets me into trouble from time to time, as I can run on a little long, but I like to just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Then, I rewrite and give more structure to the plot of the second draft forward. 

I try not to let people read my writing until the first draft is done, but I’ve grown to really appreciate getting comments along and along; it gives me an idea of what I can continue improving throughout the first draft and tells me what I want to emphasize more in the second. 

How I Get Inspired

I have a few methods to get inspired, depending on the day. One of the best gateways of inspiration for me is to read. I’ll keep a book handy at my desk and read a chapter or two before I settle in to start writing, and it seems to help my brain get over that initial bout of “what are WORDS?” I seem to suffer from so often. It helps me focus by reminding me exactly what I’m doing, and what I’m aiming for. 

I also try to find music that I can play in the background while I’m writing to keep me from getting distracted by extraneous noises. I have playlists dedicated to my different projects that remind me of the themes or the characters, but often, I’ve found it’s better to simply pick some music that plays in the background. Recently, that’s been the bands Rise Against and Elephant Revival, as well as video game or movie soundtracks like Little Nightmares and Coraline. 

I’ll also spend time just walking and listening to music and seeing what ideas it brings to mind. This helps me focus on my projects, helping me develop them in a different way. Taking walks  gives me time to think, and thinking helps me imagine. 

I’m a firm believer that when it comes to writing, do what feels right. My way of writing works for me because it makes me happy, and when I’m happy, I feel more comfortable with what I’m writing, which shows in the quality. I didn’t focus much on advice in this post, so here’s some now: find what about writing makes you happy. If there ever comes a day when you have trouble picking up the pen or opening the computer, work on what makes you happiest. I have a couple practice projects I keep around for that sole purpose, so that I still have something I can write when I really just don’t feel like it. Find your style. Find what works for you. And most importantly, write the story you want to tell. This is my way, and my way is still evolving as I find better ways to go about this whole writing thing. And hopefully, it can give you some ideas if you’re looking for them, or some encouragement to go write if you aren’t! 

Disney Character Blog Tag


If any of you have known me personally for any amount of time, you will know that Disney is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Thus, the most obvious way to celebrate my love of Disney is to make a blog tag– I am a writer, after all.

Rules for the Tag:

  1. Link back to the tag’s creator
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you
  3. Pick 10-12 of your favorite Disney Characters
  4. Chose which of your cast of characters (whether from your current or a former WIP) reminds you of those princesses and tell us why.
  5. Tag 4-7 other people
  6. (Optional) Use the graphic I created for the tag

For my characters, I’m going to use the canon Disney princesses– that is, the ones from the official lineup. Let’s begin!

Snow White– I think Cia is the most similar of all of my characters to Snow. Both are hardworking and somewhat fearful, being aware of what the world has to offer but not wanting to embrace it.

Cinderella– To be honest, Cinderella is my least favorite princess. (Probably because when I was little, the five princesses I was aware of were Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and the two Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me watch because they showed their bellies. I later found out that it wasn’t the midriff-showing that my parents were opposed to– rather, the blatant parental disobedience portrayed in the films.) Anyways, to me it was always a competition of which princess was the best, and as Aurora wore a pink dress and Belle liked books, Cindy fell to the back. All that to say, one of my favorite characters, Nathaniel, resembles Cinderella the most. They are both loyal and hardworking, caring for everyone. They know when to submit to authority and when to stand against it.

Aurora– As the princess that speaks the least in the very movie named after her, Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) would have to remind me most of Michael (I have officially decided to keep that name for him, FYI.) Michael is quiet and smart, emotionally driven and passionate, though he keeps most of those feelings inside.

Ariel– Both Vera and Ariel are incredibly curious and want to find out more about worlds that they aren’t allowed into. (Vera even sneaks into an official Alliance event at one point, with that being part of her reason.) Sometimes they’ll go through less than scrupulous means to get what they want, but they are both innovative and eccentric.

Belle– Defiantly Laurel (or Flame, depending on which draft you’ve read.) They’re both bookish, a bit dreamy, and are incredibly kind. I could totally see Laurel falling in love with a beast.

Jasmine– Jasmine is kind but with an incredibly rebellious streak. Personally, I like Jasmine from the live action Aladdin better. Overall, I think Jasmine reminds me the most of Em Gades. They’re both stubborn, and can submit to authority as easily as they can rebel against it.

Pocahontas– I’ve always viewed Pocahontas as a very graceful character. She’s very composed, and can take the lead when she desires. With her personality and intelligence, she would remind me of Angelica Leigh. (A character who comes in later in the Reflections series.)

Mulan– While Mulan’s sense of humor doesn’t match Flinn’s, the risk-taking-for-someone-they-love aspect certainly does. They both also share the longing for adventure as well. And I’m sure that Flinn would be perfectly happy with a small, sassy red dragon sticking around to joke with.

Tiana– Tiana is incredibly hardworking and down to earth. While none of the princesses are cut out in a way to be incredibly sarcastic, Tiana’s ability to actually joke around, coupled with her determination, would make her the most like Nina out of my cast of characters.

Rapunzel– Choi would probably be my most Rapunzel-like character. He’s bubbly and outgoing, and rather naïve about the world and how it works. Like Rapunzel, he’s excited to see what life has to offer him, and he believes everyone is his friend.

And I tag:




Angela R. Watts


And you!

Character Profile: Vera Knight


Vera is one of my favorite characters– she’s one who doesn’t get a ton of screen time, but she’s a fun character that I have put lots of thought into.

Full name: Vera Winters Knight

Age: Sixteen

Birthday: June 29

Born in: Third Region of the Alliance

Favourite colour: Purple

Favourite food: Fancy, high-end food that she can get when sneaking into Alliance parties

Likes: Being smart, making things, puns, being alone, breaking the rules, outsmarting people, joking around, being dramatic, saying “anywhosie.”

Dislikes: Too many people, being forced to do something, oppressive rulers, blood.

Vera is a sweet, brilliant, and somewhat chaotic child. She’s an ISTP 7w6, and loves creating things. Throughout the Reflections’ events, she sneaks in her own weapons, creates weapons out of things she finds, and just does whatever she finds interesting in the moment. She’s likable and everyone gets along well with her.

Opening/Closing Lines

“I’m Vera, but you can call me V. You excited about the ball tonight?”

“I’ll be fine.”

[everything else is under rewrite.]


Happy Birthday to a Character!


Your favorite crazy author is back, y’all. (Okay I’m probably not your favorite. I’m not even my favorite. My favorite crazy author is probably Nadine Brandes. She’s amazing and writes fabulous books.)

Anyways, all that to say, one of my characters, a character who has gone through so many name changes I’m not even sure which one he’s going by at this point, is having a birthday today! So happy birthday Jackson/Mitchel/Michael Leviathan! (I’m like 35% sure I forgot one of his aliases but, y’know, it’s okay.) Unfortunately, because he only lives inside my head and on the paper, he doesn’t actually age. Also he’s born about 900 years from now, give or take, so his great-great-grandmother probably hasn’t even come into this world yet. All that to say, happy birthday to a beloved character who some of my lovely beta readers have abnormal amounts of fondness to. (TBH, he’s not in my top 3 favorites. But he’s still great. :P)

And as a birthday celebration, I shall present some of his aesthetics from his Pinterest board. (I take no credit for any of this stuff. Everything is from the wonderful creators who made it.)

Also, yes, I did forget my favorite two characters’ birthdays (Flinn’s being August 29 and Nina’s being October 17.)

And yes, you didn’t ask for any of those aesthetic photos but, y’know, it’s a party and what says party better than trauma and PTSD aesthetics for a mostly innocent character?