1. Nate Mitchell
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    Nate Mitchell New Member

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    Plot Twist versus Dramatic Irony

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nate Mitchell, Jun 9, 2012.

    When writing a screenplay, which technique do you think works best?

    1. Plot Twist. I seem to think plot twists are more commonly used more than dramatic irony is used. Reason being is because the writer wants the reader or viewer to be surprised. The writer spends a lot of time subtly foreshadowing the big twist but then at the last minute decide to throw in what they believe is a less obvious but bigger twist. But what usually happens is that second twist is actually more obvious than the first one because you're sort of expecting it and so it has less of an impact.

    For example: A police officer adopts a young boy whose parents were brutally murdered. Ten years later the boy who is now a teenager learns something very frightening about his adoptive father...

    Plot Twist A = The teen's biological father was a police officer who was working with Internal Affairs to stamp out corruption in his department and rat on his fellow corrupt officers.

    Plot Twist B = The teen finds out that the murderer of his parents is in fact the police officer and the man who raised him as his own son.

    Because of everything the writer subtly hints to regarding plot twist A then plot twist B becomes more apparent and you figure it out before the actual reveal. That being said I'm not against plot twists as I use them myself but it's hard to come up a twist that is unique and less obvious than previous ones been done by others.

    2. Dramatic Irony. I think I prefer this the most. It seems like the most easiest route to take and slighly more rewarding. It adds more tension and conflict to the screenplay. When the reader or viewer knows that one character has done something before the other characters then we get more emotionally invested in those characters.

    For example: Same situation, different outcome.

    Instead of it being slowly revealed to us we see the police officer kill the young boy's parents with his partner during the opening scene. Seeing that his partner has found the young boy hiding and is getting ready to kill him, the police officer instead kills his partner because he can't bring himself to kill a child. Because the young boy doesn't know that the police officer killed his parents, he automatically trusts him because he's a cop. Now we know something that the young boy/teenager doesn't so for the rest of the movie we'll be wondering whether or not he finds out about it. When he finally does it's gonna pay off because it's gonna be a nerve wracking scene.

    So which one do you guys prefer to use when writing? I use both but I lean more towards dramatic irony.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Plot twists are usually a cheap stunt, or at least come across that way.

    I distinguish that from a plot reversal that is inevitable from the start, once you know what to look for.
     
  3. Nate Mitchell
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    Nate Mitchell New Member

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    That's sort of why I don't like using them as much as dramatic irony. As I'm writing a screenplay that features one or two plot twists, I'll start to think it's not a good idea because the audience is gonna figure it out before the reveal, so I don't bother with them as much. Every writer at least wants the reader or viewers to be surprised but not at the expense of the story. If the audience figures it out before it actually happens then there's no point in doing it because it's not gonna mean as much to them.

    At least with dramatic irony it adds that extra bit of tension. It keeps things interesting. Makes us keeping watching or reading.
     
  4. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose I use dramatic irony a bit more than story-shaking "plot twists." I use a few twists every now and then. In fact, in one of my stories, I sort of morph a plot twist into "dramatic irony." Although I don't really go for any labels when I think of where my plots go.
     
  5. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    a lot of people seem to underestimate the impact a great plot twist can have on the audience.
    dramatic irony will have them hold their breath, but will soon be over, a good plot twist, can change the whole meaning of a story, making the reader see you're story in a whole new light. and gives re-readability to your book.
     
  6. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^^^The problem is that rarely is a plot twist truly "great." It happens, but a lot of times, what authors intend to be a "great plot twist" ends up falling flat and hurting the story. Perhaps the "plot twist" is overused, and that's why we underestimate it. If it was reserved for when it was actually called for (and not just as a shock value tool), then maybe it'd have more effect.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My personal feeling is that the value of plot twists is overestimated. As Show points out, few of them are truly memorable.

    Too many new authors are looking for the extra feature that will make their book stand out. In other words, a gimmick.

    What makes a book stand out is superior writing. Lively characters and dialogue, sparkling description, crisp pacing. No gimmicks.
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't need a story? Hey, that makes things simpler!
     

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