When plot twists are tragic

I usually write my blog early in the week. When I’m organized (and sometimes I’m not). This week is…rough. I feel wrong just going on like nothing happened, but I don’t know this is the place to talk about serious stuff either.


There’s a meme that circulates through Facebook every once in a while: When something unexpected happens in your life, just yell “Plot twist!” and move on. It’s supposed to be funny. And it is.

Until it isn’t.

I bet none of the over 100 people killed and injured in the shooting earlier this week in Orlando were expecting that kind of end to their night. But they can’t just yell “plot twist.” It’s a bit more serious than that.

This event will, once again, ignite a gun debate: more laws, fewer laws, we have enough laws, who should own guns, the ease (or not) of getting a gun, bans on assault rifles, no we already have a ban, what is an assault rifle, etc. I don’t want to have that debate. Not here, not online.

Two things are certain: the shooter in Orlando was a despicable, nay evil, terrorist (and I use that word as in “one who inspires terror” not in relation to any particular race or religion) and if a plot twist is designed to take the story in an unexpected direction, well…it certainly did that for all those victims.

I can’t make sense of it. I can’t fathom a mind with so much hate in it, it feels the need to act like this. I just can’t. But that is life. Sometimes, the plot twists are incomprehensible.

Not like fiction. No, were this to happen in a book, the author would make sense of it all. Or barring total sense, the hero/heroine would ride to justice. The victims would be avenged. The villains brought to their knees. Order would be reimposed. The plot would be twisted, but All Would Be Right Again.

And that is why I write crime fiction. That is why I write about dastardly people doing slimy things like murder, and theft, and corruption. Because I, the author, can put it all right again.

Because all too often, the plot twists in real life spin out of control. The story goes in a different direction – one I don’t want. And I can’t stop it. I can’t make sense of it. I can’t reimpose order or bring justice.

Mark Twain famously said, “The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.” Fictional twists have to serve a purpose. They must be logical.

Real life? Well, unfortunately, that’s another story.


Mary Sutton | @mary_sutton73


Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She survived growing up through reading, cutting her mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and, of course, Nancy Drew. As an adult, she finds escape from the world of software documentation through creating her own fictional murder and mayhem. She lives near Pittsburgh with her husband and two teenage children, and fantasizes about owning a dog again - one of these days.

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