1. danthemanporto
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    danthemanporto New Member

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    INTRODUCING... 'GUN' or 'BOOBY TRAP' or 'WHATEVER'

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by danthemanporto, May 11, 2014.

    Hi,

    I am curious what you all think about introducing key items before they become a pivotal part of the story? For instance I have a scene where an old man pulls out the gun on somebody but at the start the gun is introduced. I understand it all depends how much suprise I want but something tells me I still need to introduce it before otherwise it could feel out of place and 'too sudden,' almost like it doesn't belong.

    My main concern really is this.... In my story I have an old man who has been threatened by a father that he is coming to 'get him.' In reaction to this we see the old man closing all the blinds in the house, boarding the laundry door with wood so no one can get through (looks like he is setting up for the Apocalypse) and then also in the shed building something and as he walks out with this contraption we see a 'rusty nail spiked BOOBY DOOR TRAP' armed to the shed door with a trip wire. Then the next scene plays out and eventually the father breaks into the old mans house by picking the lock - getting shot by the spear-gun trap that the old man set up.

    Do you think this is too sudden? Is the scene that sets up 'that the old man sets up booby traps for protection' too close to the scene where the booby trap effects another character in the script? Is there an element of it being too contrived for instance how would the old man know he is coming through the front door? Curious to all your thoughts on this!!! Thanks in advance
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Firstly, "Introducing... Gun or Booby!" is a book title just screaming to exist! (from the front page of the forum, you don't see the rest) ;)

    I feel the opposite - and I have a feeling everyone's mileage is going to vary - but those kinds of allusions, be they in books or in film, kinda' sometimes kill the tension for me if the presentation of the allusion feels in any way shoehorned.
     
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  3. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I like the surprise element too.

    I kinda got around this in something I am working on at the minute. Without giving too much of the current WIP away, I have a character who pulls a gun on another character. Up to this point, the gun is never mentioned. I wanted the reader to feel surprised at the action but not surprised that the character has a gun and is about to fire, so in the story, it goes something like: (names replaced by A and B)

    Very calmly and very slowly, as if she did it everyday, A pulled out a sig sauer 9mm pistol and pointed it straight at B's head.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  4. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    A little subtlety wouldn't hurt-- have him grab a tin of rusty nails, or a spear, or just building 'something.' And show us naught more, leaving us guessing.

    P.S. I am very disappointed with regards to the lack of boobies in this thread:wtf:.
     
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  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES!
     
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  6. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you; at least someone cares.:)
     
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  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    :-D
    :agreed:

    OOO I found the smilies!
     
  8. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The way I see it, you don't necessarily need to introduce such things beforehand, but they need to make sense in the story's context. An example:

    An established character is walking into a dark alley and he sees three suspicious guys there, who start approaching him. He pulls a gun on them and that way gets out of the situation unscathed.

    Now, if the guy is a pacifist whose interests are knitting, napkin folding, an caring for his pet grasshopper, and it's never ever mentioned before he even owns a gun, it would feel a bit like a deus ex machina if he suddenly had a gun just for that occasion.
    If, on the other hand, it was made clear he's a strong supporter of the second amendment, he trains self-defense, or even that he's a cop, even if you don't specifically tell that he carries a gun, it's more plausible he has one in that scene.

    Of course, you can also do a complete surprise by giving the pacifist hippie a gun for some occasion, but even that needs to be psychologically and otherwise plausible (e.g. he was worried someone was stalking him, meaning to kill him etc).
     
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  9. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm all for introducing story element before they actually come into play but you need a reason to do that or their introduction may seem out of place. Then, later on, the elements can fit together like pieces of a jigsaw. You could, for example introduce the old fellow by having him rummage through a drawer, looking for something, noticing his old service revolver and reminiscing about the time he spent fighting in a jungle and making traps for enemy soldiers. Later on, the reader will think, 'Oh yes, he has a gun doesn't he and he can build booby traps' rather than, 'Where did that gun come from and how does he know how to build that?"
     
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  10. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless it's a very short story, there are always ways to bring important items, especially weapons into the narrative without blandly pointing it out. For a gun, remembering the need to buy more ammunition, renew a license, etc. For traps, simply having the character notice or think about the components should be enough for most readers.
     
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