Tags:
  1. seije
    Offline

    seije Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    lying to the readers...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by seije, May 13, 2009.

    okay, so i have this grand story that i want to tell over the course of many books. To sum it up in a nice, pretty package, my main character stumbles into becoming the villain of a prophecy, and those that know the prophecy look back at past events throughout his life and jump to conclusions about what those events mean.

    Now, here's the kicker; some of those events, no one truly analyzes them correctly. they come up with a theory, it makes sense, and not even the main character really knows what happened, so he can't refute it. in fact, some of the explanations given to him make enough sense for him to take them as truth as well.

    If i go through and explain much later in my story what -really- happened, is that acceptable? will it look like I changed the story at the last minute for my own conveniences? Will the reader get angry that i 'lied' to them?

    I ask because these events are an important part of what makes the character who he is, but to spoil their true meaning early takes away from the mystery of the prophecy and how my main character, who is good at heart, could possibly be the villain that the prophecy speaks of.
     
  2. EyezForYou
    Offline

    EyezForYou Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    5
    The execution will be the problem. Will the readers invest in your story, peaked by the strength of your writing?

    Or will you spend endless time telling themes of your story, and not the story itself, trying to preach a grand scheme in life? I am afraid you writings will be based on metaphorical allegories and themes and not actual stories, and this can be a dangerous thing, because you can bore your readers to death.

    So the best way to write your story is in linear fashion, not within flashbacks after flashback. Have the prophetic analysis be in conjunction with the story itself and not as a precursor to events in the past.
     
  3. seije
    Offline

    seije Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    forgive me. i'm tired, and not thinking my posts through clearly :p

    the story itself is my main character stumbling through, and eventually embracing the role he's given in the prophecy. the part about other characters speculating about his past occurs a few times throughout the story, rather than my main focus.

    there are very few flashbacks, and most of the story is just that; a story. action, drama, comedy... not me drilling morals into people's heads.
     
  4. Unsavory
    Offline

    Unsavory Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Eugene, OR, USA
    As long as you're careful, it won't appear that you're lying to the reader. It will just look like people are jumping to the wrong conclusions about certain events. However, if you backtrack completely and say that those events didn't happen at all, then you might have a problem.

    I also agree to an extent with what I think EyezForYou is saying. Have the events actually happen organically in the story before you get into the prophesy, or at least allude to them in subtle ways that don't amount to full blown flashbacks.

    EDIT: Sorry, didn't see your most recent post when I posted this. As for what you're saying now, I think it's fine in theory. You just have to write it well.
     
  5. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    As long as you write the events so that they can be interpreted in a number of ways, its fine. If you write it so that it can only be read one way (sorry for the general speaking, but you didnt give specifics) and then in a later book go back and say "well, actually....it happened like this" then reader's will call foul.

    And all I can see in my mind in Kathy Bates screaming about the cliffhangers in the serials.....
     
  6. seije
    Offline

    seije Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    yeah, i know i was pretty vague... it's difficult for me to describe exactly what i mean without just telling you what events i'm talking about... which i probably could. It's more that i'm shy about my unfinished work. i like to polish, polish, polish, until i'm satisfied, and really only show WIPs to people i am very close to.

    and yes, i'm not presenting the 'lie' as fact, but merely as someone's idea of what probably happened, complete with "I think (blah)" to point out to the reader that it's speculation on his part. he just so happens to be wrong.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Misdirection in the way you are describing is heavily used in mysteries, as well as other types of fiction. It isn't lying - you are accurately portraying the character's perception of the situation at any given time. The point is to write from the current POV, not from an omniscient perspective.
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    all fiction is 'lying' to the readers... ;-)
     
  9. seije
    Offline

    seije Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    good point :p
     

Share This Page