X Factor – The Unexpected Twist

canstockphoto2447238Every murder mystery must include an X Factor — the twist that heightens the suspense in the story and keeps it as unpredictable as possible.

Story twists should always come when the reader least expects them. Twists or surprises can be obstacles for the protagonists to overcome or temporary setbacks just as it looks like everything is going well.

Here are a few twists, surprises and curves I’ve come across over the years that could make great X Factors.

  • An unexpected discovery is made
  • Someone gets or delivers the wrong message
  • An urgent call is made, but the person who was to receive the call isn’t there
  • An inheritance comes unexpectedly
  • Help is refused sight, hearing or motion
  • Something of value had disappeared
  • A suspected enemy turns out to be a friend
  • The main suspect was being framed
  • The bluff is called
  • Parents interfere
  • A person thought to be dead is found to be alive
  • The suspected motive is shown to be false
  • An unexpected corpse shows up
  • There is no money in the account
  • An old wound is opened
  • The enemy discovers the plan
  • A man turns out to be a woman, or vice versa
  • Help that is expected and urgently needed doesn’t arrive
  • A traitor is present
  • Secret information is revealed
  • A letter arrives or is discovered that changes the course of events
  • The child is not waiting at the school
  • A trusted friend, lover, or coworker is not what he appeared to be
  • An unexpected invitation shows up
  • A witness comes forth
  • The car is stopped, but the wrong driver is behind the wheel
  • A suspect’s alibi turns out to be false
  • The wrong person shows up
  • A trusted character had lost a previous spouse under mysterious circumstances
  • Expected information doesn’t arrive or isn’t what was expected
  • A character suddenly loses
  • A character reveals that she is dying
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  1. Pingback: Index of A to Z Blog Challenge Articles – April 2014 | JC Gatlin - Author

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