Surprises, Secrets, and Revelations

Adding Memorable Twists to Your Stories

Presented by Peter Andrews

February 4 - 22, 2019

Registration opens January 21, 2019

About This Workshop

How do you keep a reader engaged? One tool is using the desire to find out what happens next. That means predictability is the death of stories. Many people will put down a mystery as soon as they figure out whodunit. And “spoilers” that give away turns and plot points in a movie or a TV show can ruin the experience for audiences.

Twists in the story road add interest by shifting power, revealing intent, and taking things in unexpected directions. They may be tiny or they may be huge. Chandler suggested adding someone coming through the door with a gun when things got slow. Dickens exploited secrets, including family relationships. O. Henry made a career with surprise endings. The Sixth Sense reset the reality of the story in the final minutes of the film.

Surprises may come naturally, as when writers surprise readers because they surprise themselves. But they also can be planned, injected, shaped, and highlighted deliberately.

  • Lesson 1 The uses of surprise, secrets, and revelations
  • Lesson 2 Raising questions and surprising yourself
  • Lesson 3 Faking out the reader without being fake
  • Lesson 4 Mistakes to avoid
  • Lesson 5 Pacing (expected/unexpected)
  • Lesson 6 Planting information
  • Lesson 7 Revolting developments (amplifying impact)
  • Lesson 8 Delving deeper
  • Lesson 9 Working for wonder

About The Presenter

Peter Andrews is a full-time, independent writer of speeches, articles, and blogs. He has dozens of short stories and hundreds of nonfiction articles in print. He has worked professionally in PR and as a Web producer, speechwriter, and radio producer. He teaches writing for the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, Westchester Community College, the Westchester Center for the Arts, and various online venues. He belongs to the National Association of Science Writers and Romance Writers of America, and he is past president of RWA’s young adult chapter (YARWA). His How to Write Fast blog can be found at

Register for this workshop:

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Deadline to register is February 4, 2019

You do not need to be an RWA® member to take the class. 

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