Plot Twists To Avoid

  • The heroine/narrator is revealed to be a cat, dog, car, possum, tree or ghost!
  • A partner’s mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party
  • The perpetrators murder plan backfires and s/he eats the poison
  • A woman meets up with a handsome “stranger” for a steamy rendezvous and it turns out to be her husband
  • Someone nervous about a first day at school turns out to be the teacher; or about a wedding, the vicar; or an interview, the interviewer.
  • A woman spots her boyfriend/man of her dreams with a beautiful blonde lady – who turns out to be his sister
  • Anything involving twinsA murder/death actually turns out to be part of a play rehearsal

via Fast Fiction Guidelines – thats life!.


This is a great list of plot twists to avoid, found in the Writers’ Guidelines for an Australian magazine.

(The rest of the guidelines are good, too. I like the bit where they point out that too many characters and a story gets confusing. They recommend topping out at four.)


Although, it has to be said, the thrawn and perverse side of me is very tempted to write a series of stories in which one or all of these things happen, just to see if I could have fun with them. (Hey, the poison one worked for The Princess Bride…)

[Markets For Writers] Portland Review Online

What to do with your stories once you’ve written and polished them?
Submit, of course! Here’s this week’s market:

The Portland Review

The Portland Review has been publishing exceptional short prose and poetry since 1956. The most recent issue featured poetry by Ursula LeGuin.

They read submissions from Sept-March update: Reading period has been extended until April 1 2011

Full submission guidelines

Special notes for the online edition:

We’re looking for new or established authors of flash fiction/micro/prose-poetry and poetry for our website. We need your scannable, digitizable art. We need your willingness to interview and to be interviewed. Most of all we need your attention.
Written works should be under 1,000 words. Neat on the outside, hot like a Mexican jumping bean on the inside.
Art (graphic, mixed media, etc.) should be in pdf, jpeg, gif, tif form and reasonable in size. We don’t necessarily need ideal beauty, but evidence of an attempt at mastery or sloppiness in leaving at least your heart or brain in the work you produce.
Both art and written work may be sent to: