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    March 2008
    M T W T F S S


Posted by anthonynorth on March 12, 2008

This is a post inspired by Totally Optional Prompts. Have you had a go yet?


No form of writing appeals to me more than short tales with a twist. I love to read them, and I love to write them. Poe was perhaps the first to define them in themselves, and writers such as Roald Dahl raised them to an art form.
Essential to such tales is the importance of a sense of humour. Indeed, I don’t think you can work out the important slants on life that make the twist without one. If, after you’ve written one, you don’t go ‘he he’ to yourself, then it maybe fails.

Which brings me to the second point.

That laugh will be pure sadism. And I suspect there must be a touch of this in the mind-set of the twisty tale writer.
Another essential ingredient of the twisty tale is that you must give hints of the twist somewhere in the storyline. Hence, when re-read, it becomes obvious. This is not always achievable, but the best tales have this ingredient.

This makes you, of course, a conman.

Which is what the twisty tale is all about – fooling the person into a wrong assumption, and then hitting them with the one you want. And to be successful in this is to give a buzz as good as any conman in other fields.
And this is best achieved by placing, in the story, a kind of ‘comfort zone’. Make the reader think they know what’s going on, and also make them comfortable within the narrative. Achieve this, and the twist at the end becomes a twist indeed.

© Anthony North, March 2008



The mirror stands for all to see,
but do you look and say ‘that’s me?’
Do you stare, vainly, as if a joke,
not noticing that, around you is smoke?
What is this ghostly, abstract form,
that looks so different from the norm?
It approaches as if from an ethereal lair,
forming this, forming that, for you to stare,
at the nightmares, made real around your life,
your treatment of all, from strangers to wife;
It chokes as it grasps out to you to touch,
you learn to fear it, Oh! so much;
This is the illusion of all our pride,
to the mirror we seem to always confide,
our innermost hopes and fears, too,
for the mirror is fate,
and the smoke?
That’s you!

(c) Anthony North, March 2008


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  1. paisley said

    i have just recently become addicted to 100 word flash fiction with a twist… i enjoy it so much i am thinking of expanding the word limit,, although i am enjoying learning to say it all in 100 words…. are you familiar with david bale… i will have to look up his link… he is a god of 299 word stories… many of them with a twist….

    heres his link….

  2. I like your advice about putting a twist in the tail, you demonstrate it very well in your poem too

  3. Hi Paisley,
    I’ve taken a look at the link. You gave good advice mentioning him. Yea, I like that guy.

    Hi Crafty Green Poet,
    Thanks for that. There is no prose form I like better than short short twisty tales. I’ve written hundreds over the years. I’m slowly posting some of my old ones on the Fiction page at top of site.

  4. There are 55 word stories with a twist in the tale/tail. I used to write a hell lot of those. Now I do that in my poetry. But then, you know that.


  5. Hi Gautami,
    I do indeed. And you do it very well.

  6. Fine work, as usual. Words make great smoke and mirror scenes. You write these very well – I’d like to learn.

  7. Hi Tumblewords.
    Many thanks. Similarly, one day I’ll learn how to do excellent poetry like yourself and many others here.

  8. …and through the smoke, as I squint my eyes, I can see the face in the mirror of words…

  9. Hi Andy,
    So very true 🙂

  10. Selma said

    That you for sharing your twist in the tale secrets. You really have a knack for it. You get me every time. I am lulled into the comfort zone hook, line and sinker and then you strike – like a tiger. It’s awesome!

  11. Hi Selma,
    Thanks for the kind words. Comments like that make it all worthwhile.

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