1. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    how to create anticipation?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mckk, May 5, 2017.

    So - I'm trying to foreshadow something in my book and I want readers to anticipate the appearance of a certain character. Rucer, said character, has been missing since the start of the story and his name has been turned into something the rebels are using to rally the people against my antagonist.

    But how do you create that sense of anticipation? Where the reader is waiting, excited, for the character to show up? Where the reader is wondering where this character is and how he would be found? Better still, for the reader to actually believe finding Rucer is the answer to the book's key problem: the key to defeating the ruling antagonist?

    I suck at foreshadowing so this is kinda new for me...

    Rucer will turn out to be the very same antagonist the rebels have been trying to defeat - so the foreshadowing is kinda important as I want the reveal to be a shock. Like the character the reader has been waiting for has finally shown up, only he isn't who they had anticipated him to be.

    And the obvious - how to foreshadow all this without the reader guessing way in advance that the two are linked?
     
  2. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    That is a question and a half. In this situation, foreshadowing "...if only Rucer were here...", "...Rucer would have known what to do..." is going to give the game away instantly.

    When I first read LOTR, Timmy Bombtastic, or whatever his name was, left a huge impression on me, so much so that his name never left my head; and all I kept think was "if I had written this he would have made a spectacular return at the climax and kicked ten shades of shit outta the bad guys while the reader cheered "Timmy Bombtastic is back! Yay!""

    My point being that I would try to create a character that leaves a lasting impression by making them unusual, appealing and charismatic. The sort of character the reader misses when they are gone.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
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  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Sounds like one of those 'He's a Legend',
    type stories. Where the people who speak
    of him tell bigger and bigger fantastic tales
    about him, and in reality no mortal could
    ever hope to live up to them.
    Boast big of his accomplishments. Even
    make up some wild impossible nonsense
    just to elevate his status.
    Kinda like what we do with Chuck Norris. :p

    And here is for the other little part you asked about.:supergrin:

     
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  4. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    I know this might be a bit of an extreme idea, but: deification.

    Make a martyr out of Rucer. Do people believe he is dead/ has been gone for so long they believe he is dead? Perhaps, he appears to have martyred himself for the rebel cause. If he was a martyr, that would make his name an even greater for rallying the cause. Maybe he even promises to return to his followers, even despite apparently dying, which would instil further fanaticism into his followers. His name has passed into legend, and the rebels speak almost religiously of him. The rebels might be split; perhaps some fanatics really are convinced that he will return. They could be the driving force for instilling that anticipation you mention.

    What does that mean for the reader? Well, it means that you can continue to mention Rucer without fearing that it seems too obvious, because there will always be some degree of uncertainty as there often is with myth and resurrection. That way, even if it was obvious to the reader, you've created a cloud of doubt and uncertainty that often surrounds legends. Him being alive might not be what they immediately anticipate because 'he's dead', but they anticipate something involving him, and so he's always in the back of their mind. Also, it would have even greater impact if he was the antagonist! :D
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
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  5. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    I think the above mentioned is foreshadowing at a base level, and is probably missing the point.
    Foreshadowing is teasing, throwing the reader a red herring, setting the mood and tempo, juxtaposing emotions and action, playful dialogue... and just when they've got things figured out, *wham* the hammer falls!

    I think it's a mistake to have Rucer missing in action... where's the fun in that?
    The best surprises in literature are the ones you should have figured out, but didn't.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  6. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I can never condone attacking your audience with hammers.
     
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  7. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Because Rucer is my antagonist.

    Ok, lemme explain :D My antagonist goes by the name Shadow Walker. No one knows where he came from - they just know one morning their ruling lord has been murdered, along with Rucer Relzarro's father, whose body was in the same room, and there was Shadow Walker, assuming control of the country. My story starts when Shadow Walker is already in control. That's why Rucer can't be part of the action - he technically is part of the action, but the reader doesn't know this yet. The reader things Rucer is either dead or alive, but if he's alive, then he probably ran away with the rest of those close to the former ruler, because it is known that Shadow Walker executed everyone he could get his hands on who was powerful and close to the former lord.

    I guess maybe "building suspense" is more accurate. I don't know the term. I just know I need my reader to wait and be looking for Rucer, wondering when/how/where he's gonna turn up - and when he does, they will realise it's been Shadow Walker all along.

    Shadow Walker has his own POV chapters as of Chapter 3 - so he can't be said to be "missing from action" really.
     
  8. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Thank God you chose a truly original name in Shadow Walker.
     
  9. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Rucer? It's really just the first made-up name that popped to my head and it kinda stuck.

    Or if you meant Shadow Walker - it was even more original before. It was Shadow Rider :D I was told it was too close with Ghost Rider and advised to change it :bigfrown: It had to be Shadow-something though, just because that was how the idea came to me. So... what can you do? :crazy:
     
  10. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    My God, you see sarcasm everywhere. I was honestly saying I have only seen the term "Shadow Walker" used in twelve shows in the last year. I haven't counted books yet ;)
     
  11. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I suck at sarcasm actually. I'm actually still not too sure if you are being sarcastic or not :D but you seem friendly. And yeah I know Shadow Walker isn't the freshest name, but that's who he's been for far too long so... it stays :D
     
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  12. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    That makes me feel guilty for the fact I was being sarcastic (only in relation to "Shadow Walker"). But I like the term, it does a job.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
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  13. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    If Shadow Walker came out of nowhere, and nobody knows where he came from, doesn't a name that implies the lack of knowledge about him fit better? Or does the name imply aspects of his appearance? Or did he name himself that way?

    I mean, if he's actually named Lord Fluffy and he usurps control, doesn't state his name in any way, the people will assume his name. If the people named him "The shadow walker who bla bla bla" it would actually be a more intimidating antagonist IMO.
     
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  14. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Yes! I would much rather watch "Lord Fluffy" kick the crap outta people than *yawn* "Shadow Face" or whatever.

    EDIT: ok this is outta left field, but if you want a "cool" name, how about something like "The dark path"?
     
  15. Pharthan

    Pharthan Active Member

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    I know how hard it is to get rid of a name that's been so intrinsic, but sometimes it has to be done. I'm in the process of rethinking a name for a starnation concept I've been on for about... 8 years now. It just doesn't make sense, so it's got to go, no matter how much I'm attached to it.
    "Shadow walker" makes sense if the dude can like teleport from shadow to shadow or is some elusive thief/assassin who operates at night. But most people don't go by nicknames that people consider "cool," and if his last name is actually "Walker" and his parents named him "Shadow" they need to have CPS called on them.
    If you can make it make sense, go with it. But don't overdo it. No instances of: Gasp! "Its.... The Shadow Walker!"
    And you've got to introduce it well. If I picked up a book and I found out that the MC was some dude named Shadow Walker, I'm putting it down, most likely. I sitll never got past the first bit of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson because I was so put off by the name "Hiro Protagonist." Every time I read it, it just ripped me out of the book. I was no longer thinking about the book, I was thinking, "reaaaaallly?" I mean, I know it's supposed to be a good book, it's just hard for me to read.
    I pick up a book and don't even meet Shadow Walker until two chapters in, don't find out his name until chapter four and I like him as a character by that point? I'm into the book already, and you aren't hinging the character around his name.


    How to make anticipation?
    Inherently, the reader must expect something to occur, so you have to lay it out there and hint that this character is going to return. They need to be clued in that this person is, indeed, alive, and that Rucer is planning on returning. It would be best to not say this outright, but convey that Rucer's aspirations align with him returning to do whatever it is that everyone's anticipating him do. He's got to return, he just does. The MC is hoping for it, the NEED him to return.
    Tease the reader. "Oh man, this would be a great time for Rucer to return!"
    For this to work, you can't include anything that gives a timeframe for his return, unless you can play it off as, perhaps, maybe Rucer is having a really difficult time returning and might die in the process, or might very reasonably be held up.
    If you're going to tease, though, you've got to deliver big. Rucer riding in on a giant velociraptor made of normal sized velociraptors big.
     
  16. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    Lightbringer, Pontiff (name), Holy one etc etc etc are way more cool/intimidating. An antagonist named Pontiff Royce as example can be quite scary. That would only work if religion plays a major role, but still. A name that suggests 'goodness' on a person who is evil, damn that's scary. Especially if the antagonist believes he actually does it for the greater good.
     
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  17. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I agree! Go with "The Pope"
     
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  18. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Okay, Mckk, I am doing the exact same thing in my Novelle expect, instead of the villain it is my main character's love interest.

    So, in short, my character is looking for someone called "The Crafter." All she learns about the Crafter is that no one knows what he looks like.

    In the story, the MC finds a ring that is part of a set. Upon putting the ring on, the MC becomes emotional and telepathically linked to a man named Valinor (the person wearing the other ring from the set.)

    While the MC knows that Valinor exists, she does not know what he looks like (just like how everyone who knows that the Crafter exist, does not know what he looks like.)

    In essence, give the character a trait or feature that everyone talks about, but when your MC sees it, the trait is not presented in the way the MC thought it would be, hence he does make the connection that A and B are really the same person.

    Hope this helps.

    -OJB.
     
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  19. cherrya

    cherrya Active Member

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    Maybe you could give him the sort of personality that people find interesting? Like at some point someone could say something like "I heard Rucer did X thing just because he could" sort of thing...

    One time I heard that someone put a flag on top of his tower just so it would be higher than his neighbour's, it's so hilariously petty. It makes me want to meet that person because I assume they might have a really good sense of humour, I mean to take the time and the resources on something like that, you just imagine they've got to be pretty interesting (if not just plain weird but let's remain positive).

    Just little things like that, talk about his exploits and the person he might be could be good, I think.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
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