1. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    Big reveals

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Smithy, May 13, 2008.

    Is it better that any revelation should come completely out of the blue and hit the reader with an OMFG reaction, or should it be more of a sort "hmm, yes I thought that might be it," thing where if you look you can follow the trail and work it out before the characters do?

    At moment I tend more to the latter side, does anyone agree with me and who prefers their revelations to be more unexpected.
     
  2. Hulk
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    Hulk Banned

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    I prefer the unexpexted, really, because it's no fun reading reading what you were sure was going to happen.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I prefer revelations which seem to come out of the blue when you get caught up in the story, but when you think back on, is a logical progression.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither is 'better'... which works best depends on the story/plot and the talent/skill of the writer...
     
  5. Amor
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    Amor Member

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    I agree with mammamaia. It could go either way, really.

    Although I personally like when the writer foreshadows what a surprise is going to be, without making it too obvious.
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I perfer the shock. The kind of thing that actually makes you stop reading for a moment just to comprehend exactly what happened.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As long as it makes sense. Something just randomly thrown in to change everything around can feel absurd and contrived.
     
  8. feather
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    feather Member

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    It definitely has to work for 'your' story. I do like red herrings thrown in where I can look back later, and say, 'Damn, I can't believe I missed that one!' That being said-I love a shock, with or without any previously laid clues.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The best red herrings are legitimate products of plot lines in the story, but only appear relevant to the resolution of a principal plot line.

    For example, in a murder mystery, a character who really is connected to a suspect in a way that is not immediately apparent, and who would have a valid motive for the central crime, but in fact is up to something entirely different that only affects the related suspect.
     
  10. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I definitely prefer the shocker, but it should go like this: "OMFG NO WAI!!!! Oh, yes, I see how this works now. But honestly...SRSLY OMFG KEWL!"

    So, yeah, both.
     
  11. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Build up the background for the surprise, but let the surprise itself come completely out of nowhere.
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Unexpected is great, but if you just drop a bomb like that without anything whatsoever to back it up, it sounds terribly contrived. Like, "I'm getting bored with this, let's just DROP THIS IN HERE AND SURPRISE EVERYBODY!!" It seems too much like a writing device used merely to shock the reader. I myself would have a reaction like, "Where the heck did THAT come from?? What's it have to do with anything?"

    IMO it's best to leave at least a clue or two somewhere along the way, no matter how small. They don't have to be huge or obvious...but at least they'll make the bomb seem like it actually belongs in the story, and the reader will think, "Oh, why didn't *I* think of that??" rather than "What was this writer thinking??"
     

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