1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Should I hide this twist till the climax or not?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Jun 23, 2016.

    For my story, a character fakes his death as part of his plan, and I can either let the reader in on it right away, or wait till the climax where he will show up alive by surprise, not just to the other characters but to the reader as well.

    However, in order to hide the false death so it can be a surprise, I would have to skip ahead in the story. I would have to skip from the character's last scene, before he plans his false death, and skip to where he is already dead and it's in the news, for the other characters to hear about, with scorched body found from the morgue or something like that.

    But the reader will find this is odd, that this character's death was never shown, especially since he is a supporting character and not that minor at all.

    So in order to hide the twist without the reader being jarred with an odd skip ahead, is there anything I can do? Or should I not hide it, if I cannot avoid an odd skip ahead, do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  2. joeh1234
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    joeh1234 Active Member

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    I think, and don't take this the wrong way, but it's your story. if you get 10 answers on here 5 going one way and 5 going another does it help you. The only person who knows your story is you mate. No one here knows the pace and tone of your book so it's down to you to see what fits sorry to be blunt.
     
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  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There really isn't an answer to this. What is the best for the reader--the best way to relay the story to the reader? Will the reader feel cheated or lied to?

    My guess is that a lot of the question as to the viability of keeping the 'surprise' for the reader until the end/climax depends on POV and consistency.

    Another question to consider is, what's the purpose for choosing the unforeseeable surprise? And if it is used, maybe there should be hints that it's going to happen.

    That's my two cents (sort of vague, I know) but really only the author knows enough details of the storyline to be able to fully answer the question.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well I think the purpose is, if any, is that readers like surprises. It seems that the reason who most writers to choose to hide a lot of what actually happens, and hides characters' true plans and motives, and does not spring it out till the plan is completed in order for it to be a bigger surprise. That is at least why most writers seem to do it, isn't it?
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess what concerns me is the way you're saying 'hide' from the reader.

    It's the difference between a reader looking back and thinking:
    I didn't expect that, but should've saw it coming
    vs.
    What the heck? That was cheap. (or something along those lines)

    If it comes across as part of the storyline and not a 'gimmick,' it'll definitely work. But if the writer has to twist the story, really maneuver to keep the slight of hand going--like skipping parts of the story that otherwise wouldn't normally be.

    I guess I see it like a murder mystery. If there are clues along the way...maybe not major ones, but it all makes sense upon being revealed, that's one thing. But if it's simply that the author ignored or omitted content and clues up until the end, to surprise the reader with the actual guilty party...that doesn't make sense so much.

    If the return from apparent death is just a surprise, vs. something that is integral to the plot...that makes a difference too, I think. Readers do like to be entertained, and surprise can be part of that. But readers don't like the feeling that they were cheated, or have things come out of left field at them for no reason other than to change up the story.

    Or that is how I see it.
     
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  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well I don't think this comes out of left field since the character has motive to do it. But if the character has motive to do it, will it still make sense to the reader if I have to omit content to keep the surprise, even with motive?
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is impossible for me to say, or probably anyone else who hasn't read the script or story in its entirety.
     
  8. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    You could mention a news story of his death without making it into a huge scene of its own.

    For example, maybe your protagonists is somewhere where there's a TV (a sports bar, waiting room, someone's house) and is discussing something or doing something else, and catches flashes of the news of the death. Then thinks "huh, weird, I met that guy" and moves on.
     
  9. BC Barry
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    BC Barry Member

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    Could your not dead character be secretly helping your MC? Maybe there are little blurbs about your MC missing his friend, or floundering without his guidance. Yet as they run down the alley, they see a car stopped at the end, engine running, driver door wide open, not a person to be seen. So they hop in and speed away, narrowly escaping the 5 gunmen chasing them. Perhaps MC receives a text from a blocked number telling him how interesting the bus station will be at 4 pm. And MC arrives in time to see the two great enemies exchanging a vital clue. Or some such.

    Then, when you're ready to reveal him, Mr. Not Dead could be found to be the ghost behind the MC's bits of luck.

    Often it's much easier to move around the world when you're dead to it. But this way he's there without being there. Maybe that will help.

    Either way, good luck!
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends on how your story goes I recall an old 90s movie called Deceived in which this played a big part. Though some idiot cutting the trailer showed John Heard walking away from the car crash so the 'surprise' was nil. His wife was informed of his death and the story took over from her pov. And she didn't learn about him still being alive until clues popped up, leading to the final showdown.
    Is there anyway you can cut to another character?
     

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