'It was all just a dream!'
'She's actually in a coma!'
'The girlfriend/best friend only exists in the main character's head!'
'The evil twin is really just the main character's other personality!'
'Everyone is evil and in on the plot except the main character!'
'Main character is actually dead: they'e a ghost, with unfinished business!'
'Every secondary character is the same person in a variety of disguises!'
'Character who supposedly died at sea and is a ghost haunting main character is actually alive!'
'Random middle-aged character is actually main character's long lost parent!'
'They're actually in the Matrix!'
'They're actually characters in a story within a story!'
'They're in an alternate universe!'
'The unreliable narrator is actually the killer!'
'Everyone else is actually a cyborg!'
'Everyone else is actually an alien replica!'
'Everyone else is actually the cast of an elaborate reality TV show that the main character is not aware they are the star of!'
'Main character is a cyborg/alien replica/reality TV star and doesn't know it!'
Plus anything to do with amnesia or mind reading. I love that stuff.
I have been thinking about my love of the slightly ridiculous (and sometimes incredibly ridiculous) in stories lately (I am not a fan of soap operas, though, oddly). I don't think ridiculous and genuine have to be mutually exclusive, or that literary fiction has the monopoly on affecting and brilliant stories. I think as long as there are characters the reader can empathise with, a ridiculous plotline will work (and some degree of self-awareness and irony helps). As a reader at the moment I don't have a lot of interest in overly realistic and serious stories. I am not the sort of person who thinks fiction should always be depressing or always be serious. I think you should get joy out of stories wherever possible (or at least learn something, if it's depressing), and always entertainment. I am tired of people saying 'Fiction isn't supposed to be uplifting'. Because, well, why not? Why can't fiction be weird and fun and still be meaningful?