1. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Twists/surprises seeming like they came from nowhere.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Acglaphotis, May 13, 2009.

    Hi.

    I'm planning to make one of my stories cyberpunk-ish in nature, but there are supernatural phenomena happening. I think that that could turn off the reader from the story. Especially because it is revealed at the end or near the end of the story, and it has a huge role in the story. In my head, people would compare it to Halo ending with Cortana turning out to be a wizard and having caused the whole game just for giggles. In short, I don't want to make it look like something I pulled out from nowhere, so, how would you guys prevent that?

    I'm also worried as to the effect of pulling in the supernatural element (reality warping) in an otherwise kind of realistic sci-fi/cyberpunk story.
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Before Cog puts the post up, I can tell you that every story has been done before and nothing is original. Everything hinges on how well you can pull it off. Heck, I've got a story that I'm writing that is good but even it is in the lines with "Heart of Darkness."

    So, please don't take this thread as an attack, its not. Just write it and craft if to the best of your ability, then see how its works...
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It all depends on how you justify it within your world. If you have already established a set of rules that would allow the supernatural even to occur, then when it happens, even if itws unlikely, it will be plausible at least. If you haven't set the story up so that the supernatural elements are congruent within the scenario, then readers will call deus ex machina and never read your book again. :D
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    By foreshadowing, dropping subtle hints. Think of Sixth Sense.
     
  5. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    Couldn't have said it better.

    Just make sure to drop hints and clues, stuff that fits with what the reader thinks is going on but would make more sense for the twist. Do stuff that would be odd for the character to do normally but do not allude to anything else, then when the twist is revealed it will sort of make everything connect. I personally love plot twists and surprises, and i like going back for a second read through and noticing all of the hints.
     
  6. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Quoted for truth
     
  7. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Subtle hints are the way to go. I use them throughout my story - some of them lead to nowhere, but for the astute reader they can be used to guess what will be said and done at crucial moments in the plot.

    I'd suggest having more than one hint, as well, that don't make sense on their own but make sense when put together in chronological order. Then explain it with dialogue, if you think your readers are thick ;)
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try to avoid giving the reader the opportunity to guess what the twist will be, no matter how astute they are. The impact is blunted when you're "I thought he might be dead" as opposed to "I can't believe I didn't realize he was dead."

    Reflex thoughts- use them control the mind of your audience .Its all about putting in hints so glaringly obvious that the reader will be able to recall them at the end, but place the hints in circumstances that initiate a completely different line of thinking. Like a wife not speaking to her husband at an anniversary dinner.

    So in other words don't just dish out the wrong information. Good foreshadowing always makes the audience think, but never draw the right conclusion.
     
  9. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    Architectus has got the right idea. Subtle hints work wonders for a story's twist. Better yet, you can even use some not-so-subtle hints that the reader will never adhere to your ending.

    It's that, "Oh, God! It was happening in front of my nose all along," feeling.

    Don't take all your advice from M Night Shaymalan, though. Look what he did to The Village. — LOL SURPRISE EVERYTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN MODERN-DAY NEW YORK :(
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideally, most of the foreshadowing and ints can be taken to point to an obvious but incorrect conclusion, but well concealed clues should lead to the correct conclusion. Then only the reader who keeps an open mind and picks up the subtle details will correctly deduce the outcome.

    Twists should never be truly "out of the blue." There should always be a logical path that connects the facts to te correct conclusion.
     
  11. pacmansays
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    pacmansays Senior Member

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    I think a twist without foreshadowing is to be honest awful and I generally still don't like twists, especially ones where the character changes personality or allegiances as kinda spoils it for me...
     
  12. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    M. Night Shyamalan has never made good movies and people should not take influence from him. In fact I've been meaning to write something about exactly why this is.
     
  13. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    So did you predict that he might be one of the dead before it was revealed? If you did, your response wouldn't be "Oh, I see,". It would be "I thought so." What kind of twist wants the reader to say "I thought so" once it presents itself?
     
  14. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    I think as long as you give the reader enough clues so that they COULD predict it on their own (not that they will), then it's okay. If you pull a twist out of nowhere that no reader could ever figure out on their own, or have like a quadrouple-agent, it's frustrating to read. Because half the fun of a story for me is to TRY to guess what you think is going to happen next, even if I'm wrong. But if it's a surprise that I could never have seen coming given the preceding story, I'd be a little annoyed.
     
  15. seije
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    seije Member

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    I don't remember the name, but i once saw this movie about some woman whose child goes missing and everyone assumes she's crazy because according to htem she never had a child. they go through the whole movie with her finding clues that her son does exist, that she' not crazy, and makes it seem like an elaborate conspiracy plot. in the end, it does indeed end up being a conspiracy, but the conspirators aren't trying to hide her child, they're trying to hide the fact that aliens are abducting children and modifying people's memories so that they forget their children existed.

    I remember being greatly disappointed when i learned it was aliens. the entire movie had seemed so down to earth and realistic, and then they went and threw aside their hours of building up to say "all those shifty people that lied about your kid? they were brainwashed. Aliens did it." If there had been clues pointing towards aliens, i wouldn't have been nearly as disappointed. I might have even enjoyed the movie...

    I guess what i'm trying to say is, if you have a huge plot twist, it shouldn't come from 'nowhere.' You should leave clues of some sort. If you can leave clues that people don't understand until you reveal your twist, then thats great. You aren't giving anything away and the reader will be that much more surprised, but also willing to accept the twist you wrote.

    But even if you do have to give it away a little, it's better than going. "conspiracy, conspiracy conspiracy, conspiracy, ALIENS!"
     
  16. Okie
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    Okie Member

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    I think you should.
    I was forced once to sit through the Village, the whole thing. No mercy. I can't even say exactly what part put me off so bad. I was annoyed with the story, the actors, costumes. And by the time it was over, I was left with a big fat dubbya tee eff. I can't believe I was made to waste 2 hours of my life on it. I hated it. Write something to help me understand why I hated it so much, I need closure.
     

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