1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Is this twist extraordinarily climactic or plain stupid?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mckk, Nov 12, 2011.

    So, the twist goes like this - the whole world thinks Guy A is the answer to the world's problems (a particular war) and basically 3 groups of people are after Guy A. 2 groups wanna use him and 1 group wants to kill him. But Guy A has never done anything special throughout the entire course of the novel, until right at the end, when it is revealed that Guy A wasn't the one who was prophesied to be "special". Because Guy A was adopted - the adoptive parents had swapped their real son for someone else's in an attempt to protect their real son from the future he will have (eg. people coming after him either to use him or kill him). Hence why Guy A kept trying and failing to use his "powers" he was told he has, but actually doesn't have. And then the real hero, Guy B, who's been in the story all along and travelled with Guy A etc, is revealed to have been the real guy everyone wanted.

    I know it depends on how you write it. But there're some things that are simply BAD ideas no matter how hard you try to write it. And I can't figure out if this is one of those occasions. I'm running into trouble on how to balance the focus, how to incorporate this twist into a war setting when the parents never really appear anywhere except for the beginning and a number of other little pitfalls of this idea... and wondering if it's worth it.

    So?
     
  2. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    It seems like the twist hypothetically could work. Of course... obligatory "you have to write it well". I think we've seen similar things in movies that have done well.
     
  3. bazzie
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    bazzie Member

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    Hi,

    I had a similar "twist" in mind for the end of a fantasy novel, in which a character is being hunted by the "good" guys and the "bad" guys throughout the whole book. Along the way a bunch of "good guys" end up getting captured by the "bad" guys, and then at the end the bad guys offer to ransom them all back for this special character. They swap, and they kill him. bam.

    Anyways, there were reasons, and it was a little more convoluted than that, but that is the gist of it. I haven't written it yet, because one of my biggest complaints about books i have read recently has to be the endings.... so many authors have a great build up, suspense etc and then real let down endings.

    So, a couple of things I had thought about....

    - are you going to give enough clues that the really astute reader would make the connection before then end of the book? There is nothing more annoying than havinbg something thrown at you that you had no chance of spotting... but I feel better about these things if I read back and think "oh yes, that's what that meant, I really should have seen this coming...."

    - i toyed with the idea of not making the main character that "likeable". So the reader didn't feel to let down when he turned out to be a nobody.... possibly even a little smug that he wasn't, depending on just how annoying you choose to make him...

    hope that helps,

    bazzie
     
  4. Prophetsnake
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    Prophetsnake Contributing Member

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    Interesting you should say that, bazzie. I have just finished a story where I do my best to obfuscate who the 'baddie' is until the last page. You'd have to be very astute to figure it out because i have left almost no clues. It's not even obvious that there is a baddie until the last scene, so I could probably afford to allow a few more clues along the way.

    Thanks for making me think!
     
  5. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    I've definitely seen a twist like this before present in a book I read once. The twist didn't come at the end like you said you put in your post, but I've seen it before. However, I don't think it's a bad twist. It all depends on how you go about it, I think the events that come after that twist are crucial. Example: do people then switch to go after Guy B? What happens to Guy A afterwards; does he try to help Guy B?

    Also, I'm going to have to disagree with bazzie on both their points, but I suppose that's just going into personal preference. I really like when the main character is likeable, because then I'd care what happens to them after it's revealed Guy B is actually the main target. Also, I'd enjoy a shock like that from out of nowhere; sure you could throw in clues, but then I'd just be, "... Okay, now the characters finally know what I've known all along." It wouldn't really come off as a "big reveal" in that sense.
     
  6. ic1978
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    ic1978 Member

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    NOT A HORRIBLE TWIST. So Guy A's parents told him that he has these powers to protect their real son Guy B. Guy A realizes his whole life is a lie and his parents never cared for his well-being. If that's not in the story you should put it in there. And Guy B is sypathetic to Guy A and one of the groups that wants Guy A alive kills guy B who is the real "superhero". THAT'S A TWIST.
     
  7. bazzie
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    bazzie Member

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    Hi,

    Just for clarity, I wasn't suggesting that you make the character horrible, I was just going through some of my own thought processes for my idea, which may (or may not) help. In my potential plot that character was going to die, and I wasn't sure how the reader would take it if they loved him, would it be a softer blow if they weren't so keen on him? My character wasn't the main character either - I wouldn't recommend writing a main character that people didn't like.. I remember struggling through (what was it... one sec, quick trip to book case..) The Chronicles of Thomas Convenent, which I found hard work as I really didn't like / relate to the main character...

    I think what I was trying to say is just think carefully about how the reader will feel about the twist, given how they feel about the characters...

    I think the point about clues is a fine line... and I suspect will continue to divide opinion....

    bazzie
     
  8. AJ Winters
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    AJ Winters Member

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    Watch The Tourist. It might give you some ideas. :)
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it would work best if you write it with a comic approach.
     
  10. Vaalthurion
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    Vaalthurion Member

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    As long as Guy B is likable throughout the storyline I think it'll work. If I'm in love with Guy A throughout the book, and then dorky Guy B gets all the credit and glory at the end, it would be a let down.

    So long as it's written well (lol) this ending will be a good ending. You can lose the fear of this being a conceptual failure. :)
     
  11. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    This is a good idea. A double prophecy twist. Just imagine that moment of despair as the characters realize that the messiah is dead. And then Guy A (I sure hope you've thought of a better name for him in the actual story :p) takes up the mantle and defeats the baddie anyway. I truly do love "unchosen" characters.

    I also agree with bazzie that there should be hints. Not obvious hints but the kind that astute readers could pick up, and the type that you'd see on a re-read. I think re-readability is very important. It's good when books take on new meanings the second time around.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ideally, there should be the kind of hints that make it seem obvious in hindsight, even though nobody saw it coming.
     
  13. ScreamsfromtheCrematory
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    ScreamsfromtheCrematory Member

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    It can work - I imagine it'd set things up for a lot of highly emotional melodrama but as others said, don't make it a sudden pulling out of the ass - you have to put in small and subtle hints that seem to suggest something's not quite right about Guy A and maybe a few of his bro-friend's characteristics seem a bit extraordinary for a sidekick/secondary character. At the same time, use small tidbits and bits of exposition to work perhaps as "counter-hints" that seem to contradict that as to constantly keep the reader guessing. I imagine this should be a part of a large climactic event where the twist isn't really the main point as much as something that some might suspect to be just a large part of it.
     
  14. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I've read this done exceptionally well. I wasn't expecting it, but when I read it, I realised I probably should have done. That made it a fantastic twist.

    In this case, The prophesised hero who saved the world from great evil used the magic powers he gained by doing so to become an imortal dictator.
    The twist turns out to be that the imortal dictator wasn't the prophesised hero, but one of his travelling companions who'd killed him.
    Then, in the sequel, you find out that the one the dictator killed, wasn't in fact the prophesised hero anyway, and would have made things even worse.

    This was written in such a way that you don't expect it, but, all through the novel you're being spoon fed clues that point to it. The writer however guided your
    assumption so that the twist was not obvious until pointed out to you.

    In terms of good idea/bad idea, I'd say it comes down to how you write it. If you can get it so the audience doesn't see it coming, it'll be marvelous.
     

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