1. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Should I save this for a reveal or not?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by rktho, May 16, 2017.

    Spoilers ahead, obviously.

    So in my book, this character Daktarash steals a crystal from the emperor that happens to be very valuable-- it makes Zarakharn immortal. Daktarash doesn't know this, only that he'll be rewarded for stealing it. So steal it he does.
    Before stealing the crystal, Daktarash sells a sword to Zarakharn, saying it was given to him by a dragon who didn't give Daktarash any information about himself, who suggested that Zarakharn would pay handsomely for the it. The dragon's motives for giving it to Daktarash instead of selling it to Zarakharn himself are not clear (but they will be made clear later.)

    The reveal-- Daktarash was hired by that same dragon to steal the crystal. Daktarash is meant to receive payment for the sword, break into Zarakharn's room, steal the crystal, and leave. Then he is supposed to bring the crystal to his informant. He has already received the reward-- he is performing this service in return for the informant giving him the sword to sell to Zarakharn. So I need two questions answered-- one, should I reveal this while he is stealing the crystal or after in a conversation between his informant and another member of the organization the informant belongs to? and two, how do they make sure he won't just sell the sword and walk out instead of stealing the crystal before he leaves and bringing it to them?
     
  2. making tracks

    making tracks Active Member

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    I think it would make more sense to reveal it while he is stealing the crystal, so the reader understands why he is doing it. For the second question, is there a particular reason they give him the sword to sell first, or could you swap it round? Or maybe Daktarash is afraid of the informant, perhaps because he is so mysterious he wouldn't risk not following through with the plan? What is Daktarash's character like, would he enjoy the thrill of stealing the crystal? Does he have his own vendetta against Zarakharn that would encourage him to steal from him?
     
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  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    The reason they need to have Daktarash sell the sword first is so Daktarash can easily get into the palace and steal the crystal. If he's there to sell something to the emperor, and the emperor's arranged a meeting with him, he can just walk right in. Before he leaves, he makes a stop at the crystal's location, nabs it, and walks out. (Well, rather than "making a stop", he stashes his stuff, disguises as a servant, grabs some sheets from a supply room, and goes to Zarakharn's room under the pretense of making his bed. Bit more sneaking around than "making a stop" would imply.)
    As to his character, I suppose I could say it's for the thrill. Daktarash has been thieving and dealing in rare objects (with common contraband as a side gig that really makes up the better part of his enterprise) for years now, so he's got some experience. He's no older than fifty, so he's still young, but he didn't get as far as he did by not being good at what he does. At least, good enough for his informant to think he can pull off this theft.
     
  4. making tracks

    making tracks Active Member

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    Ah that makes sense! He could also believe that either the informant or other members of the organisation (or friends of the informant if he doesn't know about it) are waiting outside keeping watch in case he tries to run for it?
     
  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    If they were close enough or far enough in that they could wait outside, I would think they'd be able to get in and steal the crystal themselves. But that does give me an idea. There's a special investigative police force kind of like the FBI and CIA that members of this organization have been able to infiltrate. The informant could use those connections to ensure Daktarash did as promised.

    Now, I need to figure out how they were able to get members into that force. But I needed to figure that out before I made this thread. It's a little more major of a plot point than this one. I just didn't think until now it would figure in this early. Basically, this investigative force tracks down people on its list and imprisons them. Zarakharn is travelling incognito and gets targeted by this organization that he himself is technically in charge of. They don't know he's the emperor, so he's not able to override it without revealing himself as the emperor, which would require revealing that he's a wizard, since he stores his imperial proofs with magic. This allows him to be slowed down enough for the protagonists to escape when he nearly has them in his clutches.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Just be careful not to info dump it. I can't tell you how many times I'm reading an interesting part of the book and then:

    Pete crept into the room and glanced around. He'd better hurry, or the king might find him and kill him. The king was known for gutting people slowly, letting them live for days before killing them. Why, just last month he killed a thief right in front of a whole crowd of people. Pete shuttered as he remembered it. No way was he going to do this, not when he could die for it! But what about Mr. Secretive? If Pete didn't get the golden sweater for him, who knows what Mr. Secretive would do. He was so scary looking and was obviously experienced. He must be part of that secret organization that collects sweaters and spies on people. He had no choice but to do this. His eye caught the glimmer of a sparkly dress. Its sleeves were just like the ones on Mother's dress. What would she think of him now, all caught up in this mess? She'd scold him like that time when . . .

    Blah blah blah blah BORING. I'm put so many books down because of this. It's hard to avoid, especially as we're learning to write (and I mean "we" as in I catch myself doing it), but it's absolutely necessary to put in the effort to eliminate it, at least in later drafts.

    Obviously I don't expect your writing to be as awful as that example (some books really were that awful!), but I hope you get the idea. Keep the pace and make all the exposition feel relevant at that time, and you shouldn't have any trouble.
     
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  7. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Reasons the dragon might trust Daktarash:

    Daktarash has a reputation for keeping his word

    The dragon and Daktarash have a history, that has led the dragon to trust him

    The dragon has something over Daktarash - ability to kill him or a loved one, something Daktarash wants or needs that will only be provided once the task is complete, etc

    The dragon knows Daktarash wants to screw over Zarakharn too
     
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  8. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I've decided to go with "the informant has the power to turn him in or protect him, so if Daktarash wants to be protected, do what they say." But that did remind me I forgot to put it in the chapter, so thank you, I'll be adding that in.
     

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