1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Moving a plot forward with twists and turns

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Meteor, Oct 21, 2012.

    Hello and thank you all for taking the time to read this.


    I've always thought that moving a plot forward was putting a challenge in my character's path and having him over come that obstacle. I don't want my character to just seem like hes jumping from one conflict to another aimlessly. I want the ever so tiniest detail readers might think is out of place or meaningless to mean something huge later on in the story. Any suggestions on how I could make that take effect?
     
  2. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    If there is a key piece of information or detail that causes a plot twist later in the book, include it earlier in the book when it is not relevant and then bring it back later. I have a good example of this in my current project: There is a fight between two people on the rooftop. The one person is extremely outmatched, but overcomes the fight by catching his opponent off guard and yanking him off the rooftop by his tie.

    I have so much build up with the winner of the match getting his ass beat, and without earlier hinting it would seem kind of random that he is able to win the fight like this. However, at different points in earlier chapters I made specific mention to the opponents tie and how it stands out a lot. This makes it more believable when the tables turn later on during this fight - like "oh yeah, of course he could notice the tie at that key moment and use it to his advantage since other people have even commented on how much it stands out!" But before it actually happens, you wouldn't expect that it was the key to the plot advancing.
     
  3. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I'm not a big fan of loading every single detail with meaning.
     
  4. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    The bests plot twists are built out of tiny, tiny details extracted from earlier passages. You want the clue to be big enough to be fair to the reader so he doesn't feel it was totally out of the blue and had no warning preceding it, but small enough that it's not blatantly obvious. I suggest inserting the clue just before a major scene. Then the readers will note down the clue but then forget it as they read the major scene.

    Example:
    In the excellent short story "The Garden of Forking Paths", we become so enthralled with the story of the MC's ancestor that we forget that the MC is a Nazi spy, which leads to the twist-the MC kills the storyteller in order to communicate a coded message to his German paymasters.
     
  5. brynneth
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    brynneth Member

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    I really like that style when it's done well, but I think it helps not to have the little details seem too improbably or too highlighted. I always hate it when I'm reading or watching a show and they toss in an glaringly obvious detail and I can immediately tell that it's going to be important later. It might actually be better if the characters noticed it and wondered if it might be relevant rather than have them go "Oh that's a funny coincidence, oh well..." *Skips off to other plot stuff* If you can't make it seem really casual, maybe you could try having it seem like it will lead one place but have it lead to another? For example the character thinks it means one thing, but combined with this other thing, it means something completely different, yay surprises!
     

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