Plot Twist Story Prompts: Red Line Moment

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have somebody cross your character’s red line.

Plot twist story prompts aren’t meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they’re for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

Each week, I’ll provide a new prompt to help twist your story. Find last week’s prompt, Who Am I? (Part 2), here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Red Line Moment

For today’s prompt, have one of your characters cross another character’s red line. The “red line” could be any number of things. For instance, a ruler may tell citizens they’re not allowed to cross an actual physical barrier (to leave a country, for instance) without facing consequences. Or the red line may be something quite different.

(10 Ways to Start Your Story Better.)

As another example, let’s say Character B is always getting into trouble, but Character A always bails them out of trouble and makes excuses for their behavior. That is, until Character B develops a romantic relationship with Character A’s spouse. Or until Character B steals money from Character A’s savings. Or until (fill in the blank).

The “red line moment” plot twist can be engaging, because readers get to see Character A bail out and defend Character B for quite a while. In fact, readers may even be rooting for Character A to finally say “enough is enough.” And when that red line is crossed, it can be fulfilling…and create a whole new set of problems.

Another thing to keep in mind with the “red line moment” twist is that it’s not always obvious to Character B where the red line is. However, it should be obvious to the reader, even if it’s only after the fact, so that it doesn’t feel like “an act of God” plot twist.

So have somebody cross your character’s red line, and see what happens next.

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Have you hit a wall on your work-in-progress? Maybe you know where you want your characters to end up, but don’t know how to get them there. Or, the story feels a little stale but you still believe in it. Adding a plot twist might be just the solution.

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