1. jeremycamp
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    jeremycamp New Member

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    Could this work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jeremycamp, Jun 17, 2009.

    Is this possible to do if I am writing the story in first person (MC's view point)
    My MC is a killer but I didn't want to revel this until the end. Is it possible to hide this from the reader until the end, even if most of the novel is in first person of the MC?
    In your opinion would you consider this a strong enough plot, for it stand alone as a major twist in the story?
     
  2. littlebluelie
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    littlebluelie Member

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    Sure, it's do-able. You would have to leave little clues to this as you go along, so when it's finally revealed readers are like, "Oh yeah! That makes sense now."
    If you don't, they'll feel disappointed because they thought they knew your character and there you go, completely changing him or her on a whim.

    Of course, I would think, a murderer would think about what he/she had done over and over...so it's not something you can't mention unless something happened to alter his or her memory. Oooor something is happening in the story that is taking all of your MC's attention, and he or she doesn't have the time of day to think about the murder. Or your MC could be a little insane? I suppose certain types of mental illnesses could prevent the MC from focusing on the murder, or prevent the MC from remembering it at all.

    Like in Secret Window! (At least the movie version...-hasn't read the book-)
     
  3. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Essentially, anything can be done. It depends on your writing skill.
     
  4. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    This, probably. Or, a little bit of the thing you said prior to this, about his daily life taking up too much of his time to really reference it. That could work, but it would take some serious thought.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Twists don't make a good story. Good writing makes a good story.

    Of all the reasons for writing in first person, keeping the reader in the dark about the character's true nature is probably the worst. You choose first person when you want to expose the character more intimately.
     
  6. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I particularly like the way that Timothy Zahn keeps the truth of a situation from everyone until the end.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    It's not impossible, and I think there are a number of novels that have done that (though I don't think I've ever read one), but because of the very nature of it, it's not going to be an easy write. You're going to have to make sure every single word that comes from the narrator deceives the reader right until the twist happens. In other words, you have a lot more to worry about when it comes to your word and stylistic choice.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You could only do it if the MC was narrating/talking to the reader, and deliberately misinforming/misleading them, or it wouldn't be believable in the first person. Its the type of thing that can work really well in movies, but not so much in literature, especially first person. Even in 3rd person, if its 3rd person limited to the killer character, it would be pretty difficult to pull it off. I mean, if we're not allowed to know the killer is the MC, then there aren't many ways you could convey any of the crime story at all, so it would be like you have two completely different storylines, and then in the end you're likee "oh and actually they're the same"...actually this sounds like this old YA fiction book i read a few years ago called Talking To Blue (and the sequel Blue Murder)....look them up and you'll see what I mean...
     
  9. ThePman220
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    ThePman220 Member

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    Sure. One of the good things about first person is that it lets you have a closer, intimate look at the character, and by extension to sympathize with him/her even if said character is a monster. Once a character is "a real person" in the reader's mind, it's (usually) easier to be sympathetic.

    That's also a double-edged sword. In your case, wanting to keep the whole "killing" thing secret, you're going to have to operate under some special circumstances. To avoid letting your readers in on the secret, the character is going to have to either not think of the murder(s) or not react to them in the way we'd expect another person to react.

    A detached serial killer will frame murder in a way that is rationalized and even justifiable, as compared to say a man that comes home to find his wife in bed with another man and pumps a few shotgun shells into them. The time separation from the murder will matter as well. The serial killer may well dwell on it five minutes after the fact, while the distraught widower may have come to terms with it a few days or weeks later.

    As for being a whole plot, well, it could be. If the character is sympathetic (which I'm assuming s/he is meant to be), and if there's some reasonable justification for the those actions, then it can work just fine.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why not write it in 3rd person? Why would first person make the story a better story?

    Either way you need to drop hints that he is a killer, so when it is revealed we you can point back to those hints.
     
  11. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    How do you plan to approach it? Will the killer be suffering from black-outs?

    Plus... what Cognito said. :D
     
  12. Purple Ink
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    Purple Ink New Member

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    I feel it's possible to work, you'll probably just have to find some other things about your character to focus on. But it's definitly do-able
     

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