The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Distinctive plot devices enrich writing skills

By Dang Le/managing editor

TR writing center assistant manager Shawn Steward discusses the use of plot in literature to help students construct their stories in a more exciting and entertaining way Feb. 11 Charles Okafor/The Collegian

Writers can learn storytelling techniques like plot twist from movies to develop stronger writing skills that the TR writing center presented in a workshop together Feb. 11.

“‘What is the plot?’ ‘What is the narrative?’ ‘How do I keep a person interested while still getting my point across?’ All those things really help you become a better writer,” TR learning center coordinator Steven LeMons said. 

He hoped when students watch a movie, they will now recognize storytelling elements in films that they can use in their writing. 

Plot Twist is the third part of the learning series put together by the TR Writing & Learning Center, so students can improve their writing skills through different perspectives rather than dull essays. 

“A plot twist is that there’s no foreshadow,” TR writing center assistant manager Shawn Steward said. “There’s no indication that it’s coming.”

He introduced multiple types of twists from pre-ordained endings, shock endings, bad guys turning good or killing off lead actors. 

Steward then mentioned twists from different movies, such as “Arrival” or “The Twilight Zone.” However, the plot twist doesn’t have the impact in a book like it may in a movie because moviedmove the plot along faster.  

“Six-hour experience is crammed into two hours for the movie, which means you have to cut one-third of the experience,” he said. 

However, he reminded the audience that while a plot twist is an exciting way to get people to analyze the piece, one must be careful before it turns into lazy writing. Steward introduced the term deus ex machina, which tends to happen when students overdramatize their stories and write themselves into the corner. 

“Deus ex machina is an ending that doesn’t seem to be explained well,” Steward said. He showed footage of  “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” as an example.

TR student and film club vice president Devin Jones said he enjoyed the workshop and learned more about the old and classic twists that could help his writing in the future. 

“I think Shaun not only covered plot twist, but he also covered story structure,” Jones said. “And he also covered what a story consists of, which I really like.”

Steward brought up a list of twists from different movies, TV or music, and he finished with an unexpected one. 

“Of course, we still see twists in real life,” he said. “The 2016 election happened, and it caught people off guard.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian