Mastering Plot Twists: How to Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure to Captivat E Your Readers

Jane K. Cleland (Author) Donald Maass (Foreword by)


"...A unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author..." Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan

Unlock the secrets to superior plot twists!

The key to keeping people on the edge of their seat--from memoirs to thrillers and stage plays to screenplays--is filling your stories with unexpected twists and turns. By integrating Plot Twists, Plot Reversals, and Moments of Heightened Danger (TRDs) at crucial points, you can captivate your readers with I-can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next intrigue. The quicker pace and focused action that comes from strategically placed twists form the core of the nuanced, multifaceted books that sell--and that help you find a devoted readership.

In Mastering Plot Twists, Agatha Award-winning author, Jane K. Cleland goes beyond telling writers what to do; she shows you how to do it. Within these pages, you'll find:

- A proven, five-step process for using TRDs, with detailed examples from best-selling books
- A deep dive into plotting, structure, pacing, subplots, and more to help you develop surprising yet inevitable twists.
- "Jane's Plotting Roadmap" and worksheets--essential tools for planning your plot

Building on the award-winning instruction provided in Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, Cleland's newest guide will help you create effective and credible twists, creating the kind of stories that will keep your readers up long into the night.

"...A master class in crafting plots that twist and turn..." Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author of You'll Never Know, Dear

Product Details

$17.99  $16.55
Writer's Digest Books
Publish Date
June 26, 2018
5.4 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

Jane K. Cleland is the author of the best-selling and multiple award-wining Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries (St. Martin's Minotaur).

Jane also writes short stories (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine) and articles and books about the craft of writing (Writer's Digest magazine and Writer's Digest Books), including the bestselling and Agatha-winning book, Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot.

Jane is the chair of the Black Orchid Novella Award (, a mentor in Western Connecticut State University's MFA in Creative & Professional Writing program, a guest author at universities and writing conferences across the country, and a member of the fulltime faculty at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York, where she is also the director of the Program for Professional Communications. In addition, Jane was the president of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of the national board. More information is available at


"Jane Cleland's Mastering Plot Twists is a master class in crafting plots that twist and turn, sparked with conflict and fired with human emotion." --Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author of You'll Never Know, Dear

"Mastering Plot Twists provides a unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author (new or experienced) who wants to produce a riveting, twisty, un-putdownable page turner. And who doesn't " --Kate White, New York Times best-selling author of 13 suspense novels and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan

"Jane turns the process of plotting inside out and lays bare the bones of a compelling story that will capture your readers' attention and imagination. She gives you the tools to think like an editor in the crucial early stages of planning: exploring character motivation and conflict, perceptions and expectations, and sub-plots and pacing. This excellent how-to is much more than the twists." --Linda Landrigan, editor, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

"The Queen of Plot Twists, Jane Cleland has done it again. In this brilliant follow-up to her Agatha-winning Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot, Cleland reveals the secrets to writing page-turners that sell. From the basics of pre-plotting to the subtle art of surprise endings, this is the ingenious guide you need to take your story from good to great--one plot twist at a time. A must-have for every writer's bookshelf!" --Paula Munier, author of the Writer's Digest bestseller Plot Perfect and A Borrowing of Bones, a Mercy and Elvis K-9 mystery