How To Add A Twist To Your Story – Tips From “Frozen”

Photo by Ayla87

Photo by Ayla87

Have you ever despised the linear, flat story line you have going in your novel? If each scene outcome is predictable and you worry your reader will lose interest, then it is time for a change.

Maybe it’s time for an unexpected twist. Easier said than done, right? Still, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.

Using a technique that I call fringe plotting, or Susan May Warren’s similar technique of peripheral plotting, you can easily bring in believable twists to mix things up.

What exactly is fringe plotting?

It is finding the details or story components on the edge of your current story line and drawing them into the plot in an unexpected way.

Take a look at this clip from Frozen:

What is the fringe plot detail in this clip? The camera man. He is the unexpected element that plays into the clip. It makes the other characters act completely different.

Who is on the fringe of the scene or story line you are working on? How will they make the characters act differently?

Now, notice the carrot. The carrot is an object on the fringe of the plot when Olaf is sitting on the moose’s back and he doesn’t want to move. It is unexpected that Olaf takes off his nose as incentive, but the nose was there all along waiting to be noticed.

What objects or incentives could there be in your character’s scene that are on the fringe going unnoticed?

In the clip from Frozen it seems so simple, but when we look at our stories it appears complicated sometimes. Break it down in the following way.

Describe these things as they relate to your scenes, characters, or story line:

*Job

*Friends, Family, Co-workers, Side Characters

*Events- Town Seasons, Holidays, Charities, Calendar

*Values – Things valued in the scene, lives, or backdrop of the story.

Once you identify these things, think of how they intersect with your character’s life and then you may find some of those carrot style twists you are looking for in your novel.

What is your favorite Disney Movie for surprises?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

8 thoughts on “How To Add A Twist To Your Story – Tips From “Frozen”

  1. I LOVED Frozen–it was my favorite movie in 2013. My writers’ group when to see it and discuss it after–all the elements. But we never talked about the carrot. I will have to give this some thought.

    I think SHREK had a lot of these twists, too. But I can’t think of one scene to use as an example. I need to go watch the movie again and think about it. LOL

    Great post, Michelle.

    • Michelle Lim says:

      There is so much fun humor in Frozen…Shrek has some good twists, too. I love it when you think you know what is going to happen and you are totally surprised and yet it is believable.

  2. I like this. Will have to think it through, see what’s in the fringe of my story that I can use.

  3. Michelle, I love this clip (watched it 3 times). Thank you for the fringe plot encouragement. I may flesh-out the one I have in my MS a bit more.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  4. andreamichellenell says:

    Hi Michelle. My favorite Disney film … That’s a hard one. I loved Tangled. How to Train Your Dragon is one of my favorites, but I think that one is DreamWorks.
    I was out and about today really wishing I had your book along while I’m trying to get my plot unstuck, then it occurred to me to look up your blog. So glad I did. Great post.

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