The Middle Twist

Divide every story in half. In the first half (Acts I and IIa), everything appears to be going according to plan. Then in the second half (Acts IIb and III), something different happens that makes things worse.

In “Spiderman: Far From Home,” the first half is about Spiderman trying to avoid becoming a superhero because he just wants to be a normal kid. In the second half, Spiderman suddenly realizes that Mysterio is the real villain and now he has to fight Mysterio to protect his friends and save the world.

In “Star Wars,” the first half is about Luke wanting to get off his planet and he finally does when he flies with Obi-wan to deliver R2D2 to Princess Leia’s planet. Then in the second half, the Death Star captures the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s life has suddenly taken a huge turn for the worse.

In “WALL-E,” WALL-E is just trying to get Eve to fall in love with him. The first half of the story is about meeting Eve and following her to her spaceship. Then the second half of the story is about learning that the spaceship’s computer plans to keep the human race marooned in space forever and abandon Earth.

The first half of any story is what’s expected. The second half of any story is what’s not expected, but makes the hero’s plight much worse.

In “Titanic,” the first half of the story is about Rose finally giving in to her emotions and making love to Jack. The second half of the story is about the Titanic starting to sink.

You can always identify the midpoint of any story because that’s exactly where the hero gets what he or she wants, but then something goes horribly wrong.

In “Avatar,” the hero finally makes love to the alien female, but the second half of the story starts when bulldozers plow up the land and the hero gets caught on video, attacking the bulldozer.

In “Die Hard,” the first half of the story is when the hero finally contacts the police and gets them to realize that terrorists have taken over the skyscraper. In the second half of the story, the terrorist nearly wipe out the SWAT team and plan to blow up the hostages on the roof to make their getaway.

Every good story needs a twist in the middle. Without this twist, the story becomes predictable and dull. With a twist that makes matters worse, the story suddenly gets more interesting again.

Twist your story in the middle. That’s when life gets progressively worse for the hero, which makes the story far more interesting.

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