Plot Twists

The unexpected bumps & turns in your plot road

Series 3 | Lesson 2

Creators | Emily Gale & Shirley Marr

In this lesson, Shirley and Emily will share their tips for writing amazing plot twists. And they’ll teach us how we can build in story surprises to keep our readers on their toes. 

This lesson introduces students to plot twists – unexpected events and unpredictable turns that add excitement to a story. Students will gain tools for planning a story that doesn’t follow the most predictable, obvious path. And they will explore how they can re-energise their writing by challenging themselves to be original and inventive.

Key Concepts:

  • What is a plot twist and what makes one effective?
  • What is foreshadowing, and why is it important in your story plan?


  • Why building the unexpected into a story keeps a reader reading.
  • How to topple or play with reader expectations.
  • Questions students can ask when creating their stories, and strategies for making plausible, inventive and well-planned twists.

Resources for Plot Twists

Resources include lesson plans for middle and upper primary students, each with their own activities and supporting resources.

Series 3 Lesson 2 resources on green background

Resources include:

  • An interactive card-flip ‘game’ to generate plot twist ideas.
  • An engaging worksheet to revamp a familiar fairy-tale plot
  • Writing examples that model the worksheet tasks.
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About Plot Twists Creators

Shirley Marr

Shirley Marr is a CBCA award-winning children’s author of ‘A Glasshouse of Stars’ and ‘All Four Quarters of the Moon’.

Her own voice novels emphasise the importance of kindness, empathy, learning through imaginative play and resilience. Her latest novel is ‘Countdown to Yesterdays’.

Learn more

Emily Gale

Emily Gale has worked as a children’s book editor, a book buyer for Readings, a reader for a literary agent, and a writer-in-residence in a high school library.

Her novels have been shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the WA Young People’s Literature Award, and the Aurealis Award.

Learn more