J.K. Rowling very famously revealed that she wrote the last chapter of the last book of the Harry Potter series much before she started work on the final book. It is a trick that could probably work with short stories as well. Try writing your short stories backwards. Start with the twist in the tale and then work towards the beginning of the tale. It is a literary trick that many authors employ to stay on path and to ensure that they do not meander while writing their short story. This is one of the best techniques that you can employ.
There is a lot to be learned from the age-old adage, reality is stranger than fiction. Look back at your experiences, or some real life incident someone narrated to you. Look at the crime stories that newspapers and news channels are flooded with. Chances are more often than not you will find inspiration for several different short story ideas. Historical accounts, your travels to various places, the television episodes that left an indelible mark on you are some of the many inspiring sources that you can turn to while writing short stories.
Sometimes the biggest twist in a short story can be attributed to a character. Imagine writing a story and describing this person who is the ideal lover, everything that a woman could ever want, describing his every quality, only to end it with him reading his diary where he recounts every gory murder he has ever committed. In such a story if the character comes across as a 2 dimensional caricature without any real personality, the story is going to fall flat. Always create characters your reader can relate to. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind while coming up with short story ideas.
Your story needs to engage the reader by making him a part of the narrative. Detailing is one of the most important elements of a short story and these details need to capture the attention of the reader. A good short story will keep the reader guessing, involve him, and intrigue him into finding out as much as he can. This is key while thinking of short story ideas that have an engaging twist. Ensure that at no time does the reader get the feeling that this is a plot he is familiar with. That he has read this story or a version of it somewhere earlier.
Most first time writers tend to believe that being bizarre in their literary piece translates into creating a work that is entertaining. While coming up with short story ideas engage your wacky side by coming up with the quirkiest ideas, but remember that if these do not touch a chord with the readers, it is a downhill ride. Eccentricity and readability are not interchangeable and do not make the mistake of thinking so. A twist in the tale does not mean that your story about two kids on a picnic can end up on an intergalactic spaceship. Or maybe it can. If one of the kids is an alien doing research on planet Earth.
One of the things that you need to keep in mind while indulging in an exercise of creative writing is that there are many ways of doing the same thing. If you want to come up with different short story ideas that have twists, well first you need to decide what kind of a twist you are aiming at. O. Henry who along with Saki is probably one of my favorite short story writers was famous for short stories that ended with an amusing twist. Saki, on the other hand, had a knack for the macabre. Opt from amongst types like amusing twists, ironic twists, or just misconceptions. You will also need to figure out whom you are writing for. Short stories for kids will differ vastly from short stories for adults.
Who better than the Bard can tell us how important brevity is in a short story. You do not want to be writing a short story and have the reader wonder at the end about how everything fell into place. Any story that meanders, confuses the reader. Be precise; a short story works best when it is told in a manner that is succinct and witty. Brevity, does not mean, compromising on your plot setting, or your characterization. But for the twist in the story to be impactful, you need the story to be present in the reader’s mind in all its detail. Read any of the famous short stories and you will be surprised by how concise they are.