1. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

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    Revealing a sub-plot or keep reader guessing?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by 33percent, Jan 7, 2018.

    The first part of my story takes during our time for the MC, but ends up waking up in a dark sinister future. I sent my cousin a summary of my story. He was getting confused why my MC was so special of all people to be preserved to be woken up in this future. I don't really explain why he was spared in the first place which I left out on purpose. It just happens for the MC, setting up the actual story, tragedy for him. Even in the story I have MC question why he is even special in the first place to be alive in this future. I told my cousin I want the reader guessing much as the MC questioning and guessing for himself. Sorta like how people make up theory's on Got or SW for example. If I reveal everything whats the point of reader continuing reading?

    If I ever do have sequels this becomes a personal quest for MC to go find out the truth. My cousin said this might be a flaw, because it might confuse the reader, not wanting to read it further. I need to state it early on in the book than left hanging, giving them more questions than answers. I simply told him, I want this book to be more of a stand-alone, streamline book but at the same time can open the possibility of more sequels. Now I'm questioning if I should leave it out or reserve the subplot later but keep the reader guessing.
     
  2. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I think it depends on what happened to cause him to be "preserved to be woken up in this future". If somebody did something to him to cause this to happen, then I would, as a reader, certainly be wondering why this particular person was chosen. If it was purely by chance, then I would assume he was just in the right place at the right time. The point at which you reveal it is up to you. I certainly wouldn't reveal it immediately, as this would ruin the suspense. As long as you acknowledge the suspense, I think the reader will go along with the withholding of this information. In other words, have the MC ask those questions that you're assuming the reader will be asking. "What's so special about me?" "Why am I here when the people I love are long gone?" "Who has done this to me?" There should be some sense that the MC is at least trying to advance towards asking these questions. Then you can either have him accomplish this goal and reveal the reason to the reader, or leave it hanging for them to work out, imagine their own ending, or resolve in a sequel.
     
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  3. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic Supporter

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    I think you need to decide whether or not it's standing alone or getting a sequel to make a proper decision about this issue. I would hate to read the first book, find out that it's a standalone, and then also realise that I will never be told why the MC was chosen even though they questioned it in so much detail. I don't think it should be given away right at the beginning -- getting readers to ask questions is good -- but it can't be left unanswered forever otherwise you will have some very frustrated readers.
     
  4. GB reader

    GB reader Senior Member

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    If there was a something/someone that spared your MC I feel you have to reveal that. If you leave it to the sequel, it's not a subplot. And then you must write that other book.
     
  5. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

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    I would say do NOT leave it for the sequel because it sounds like important information to the story. Even if you want your book to be a series/have a sequel, you should write your book as though it is standalone because it may end up being standalone. Otherwise I think leaving it be a mystery for most of the book though is fine as long as the audience understands that its supposed to be a mystery and is under the assumption they will find out by the end of the book.
     
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I think it depends on which POV you choose to tell your story. If it's 3rd (close or whatever), or 1st, then of course the reader shouldn't know until you're ready for the big reveal. In omni, I could see that being more problematic :)
     
  7. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I would toe the line between making it entirely random, but adding foreshadowing for a possible sequel later. The entire thing should make sense if the reader assumes that it was random chance.

    Futurama did this exactly. In the pilot episode, Fry fell into a cryo-tube which froze him for a thousand years. Everything about it seemed like it was a freak accident and we spent five whole seasons believing that until it was revealed that he was pushed by another character. The writers had no idea that the show would last long enough to go into that plot, so they left made it so that everything would have worked if they didn't. But they had enough foresight to place the shadow of the other character pushing him in the pilot itself. It still blows my mind the level of detail they went into in that show for a consistent timeline.
     
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  8. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

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    Technically, I've already written the 2nd book because originally it was my fist but because it was too long I split it in two. I just took the first act and extended it to be my first book. The MC finds out at the end of the first book he has supernatural abilities, which I figured to hint the reader, yeah, this is why. It's not really a direct question why he was spared in the first place but gives a hint to the reader for answering that question regarding to the plot.

    I do plan to insert more of those questions, a dilemma for the MC throughout the book more like breadcrumbs. The only problem is none of the characters MC associates within this era are not connected to his past what so ever. He does ask those various questions to himself throughout the story but the circumstances he faces makes it more of a low priority to find out why. Majority of the book takes place in a prison setting, MC is more worried about survival, assault or even sexual assault of that matter.

    In my 2nd book or sequel, I do plan to have those questions answered for the MC but I do plan a side quest which unravels more of the plot. That's why I just want to reserve the information to that plot question for later on sorta like what the writers did for that show.
     

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