Twists - Done to death
There are those plot twists which are so unexpected that you would be less surprised being hit by a flying car in your basement. There are those like Terry Pratchett, who take the most clichéd elements ever and weave them into masterpieces. And then there are those plots which are so predictable, that Paris Hilton's various exploits are more of a surprise than them. It has spilled on to movies; who writes the plot, pray? Here are a few of those most clichéd plots we come across.
“I'm not the same person anymore.”
The country-living naïve girl stumbles around the story making awkward messes as she tries to understand modern life. The badass macho guy goes around doing badass stuff. They meet and fall for each other. And at the end of the book, naïve girl overnight becomes a mature woman and the badass - well he becomes a regular sweet natured ass. We dub this: the 180 degree turn around.
“I thought I killed you already!”
Boom! Now we all like a good old boom, don't we? And this boom is the defining boom that is supposed to kill the villain or the best friend. So what do we do when we are in a boom? We die. But wait, the explosion which had enough temperature to burn the building to ashes was not enough to kill said villain or friend. And what does someone who just had a near death experience do? Get medical help? Nope. REVENGE muhahahahahah!
“Is all that we see or seem…”
A very weird game is afoot. One would think these writers were on acid and churned out the most metaphysical, absurdist, surreal pieces of plot ever. And then at the defining moment, the alarm rings and someone wakes up. That was all a dream. Pfft.
“He went that way.”
He was right there on the last line of the page, or on the corner of the screen. The inconspicuous guy, the simpleton no one would actually look at. And that would make you suspect he is the serial killer. But then the author goes out of his way to not mention him, to totally ignore him; he can in no way be related to the plot. And then - hold your breath - he was the killer. Ta-da.
“The dog did it, and he was supposed to be my bestfriend.”
So you think your childhood nemesis ruined your company? Or the guy you dissed killed your goldfish? What now? Hire a detective. And after 300 pages of trying to get the nemesis to admit he did it, comes the twist. A lock of hair or finger prints of the best friend/ family friend/ family member has been found. The story ends in tears as the guilty says, “I did it for your own good,” as he is led away.
Notable clichés left out of the list would be meeting the long lost twin, the split personality and the huge number of stupid decisions made by people in haunted houses. But then again there have been quite a few good stories featuring the above mentioned plots.
The Boy and His Angels
The boy keeps angels in jars. They sit on the bookshelf across from the window, in glass containers washed free of strawberry jam. Two rows of six, glistening. The light enters through a scratch in the tinting, and strikes the shelves in a white-gold line. The creatures stir.
Their wings are clipped with nail-cutters. A few grimy feathers trail from between their shoulder blades as they lean against their glass walls, naked and shrunken to palm-size. Here, they have no good, no God, and no love. Immortality merely keeps them alive.
When the light slants their way, they raise emaciated arms to shade their eyes, the colour of watered down butterscotch. “Down,” he orders them, when he is around, so he can recount their eyelashes and see each face again.
They were fewer in the beginning, only two or three in a line; glory broken, but still whole enough for feeling. Near human, one might say, and savage with the aftertaste of first sin. Their palms and breasts and overly prominent cheekbones would press against the glass, iridescent, as each hissed filthy things at the others, their pointed canines gnashed out fury, and he watched them like television.
Slowly, their heavenly souls shrivelled, unaccustomed to the hatred coursing beneath their skins. They grew silent then, and fell back on to the floors to try and conserve some dignity. When he brought new angels, still magnificent and whole, and chained them to his wall, they could even manage a compassionate look or two.
He has them sing psalms for him, silence-coarsened voices rising and falling in symphony to his old guitar. Tears the size of powdered seed pearls roll down their faces to rest on their collarbones, and he is fascinated.
“Do you still love me?” he asks, eyes wide and guileless. Collectively, their eyes harden in disgust, and the angels choke on their false denials; oh, how they want to hurt him. But by some twisted law of the universe, they still may not lie. He shrugs his shoulders, and the guilt falls away like dandruff.
“I told you I was bad,” he says, as if that wasn't what had drawn them in.
Each of them was once beautiful. He examines them occasionally, unscrewing the chequered lids of the jars and lifting them out between forefinger and thumb. Up they go, near the electric light. And he sees what they have become. Their hair, grey with grime, falls past their feet, the weight of it pulling their heads back into a Nefertiti tilt. Their skins are stretched tight over ribs like miniature birdcages, and every joint is a needle, jutting into the air. The lights beneath their skins flutter as their albino eyelashes do, struggling to un-startle their dishwater eyes.
“I loved you,” he says to the first, and the second, and every one of the rest. He smiles a little each time, as if amused by his antics of the past. The last angel spits in his face. He returns her to her jar and turns off the light, looking sad.
“I'm sorry,” he says sometimes, into the darkness. His answer is the slow clattering of long nails against the insides of jam jars. Like the sound of clicking rosary beads.