It's a twist in the tale story, I wrote. Did you guess the twist?
The results were disappointing.
4 out of the 5 people who read the story guessed the twist!
One of my critiquers tried to be kind by pointing out You did tell us it had a twist.
Well yes, but the same thing happens in most of the magazines when they stick a great big rectangle in the top corner of the story announcing "Tale With a Twist"!
The readers will feel pleased with themselves for guessing the twist, someone else said.
Um yes. Maybe. But that's the not the point. The point of a good twist in the tale is for the reader to spend the whole time desperately trying to work out the twist and then exclaim "Wow, I never would have guessed that!" at the end. And that's what the editor will be looking for too.
I asked for more feedback - what was it that gave the twist away? What didn't work? What could I tweak to make the twist less obvious?
A couple of the suggestions I received were really good so I incorporated them into the story. Obviously I can't re-post it now to see if it works because everyone knows the twist but I THINK the twist might be a bit less obvious so I'm sending off anyway. If it wings itself back from Take A Break in 3 months time I'll know I didn't quite crack it.
So anyway, for anyone who's ever read a twist in the tale story and thought "Talk about money for old rope. I could knock one of those out in an hour." I dare you to try!
It's not as easy as it looks.