1. Gammer

    Gammer Active Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Using this twist and avoiding the MC looking foolish

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gammer, Sep 30, 2016.

    Hey all,

    I've reached a serious snag in my WIP regarding the identity of the antagonist and it's really halting my progress.

    The main protagonist is seeking out a masked magician who destroyed a village. The protagonist wants to go after the magician but needs proof in order to convince his lord father to send him out with a team. He grants guest rights to an old exile because the exile has the information and proof about the magician that the protagonist needs. The exile turns out to be in league with the magician and makes off with an important document.

    The protagonist assembles his team, one of which is the exile's servant who the protagonist captured and promised a lesser sentence in exchange for his help. After trial and tribulations they track down the exile, only for the servant to reveal he is the magician. He was looking to get payback from the exile for betraying a deal they made regarding the stolen document. In the fray one the protagonist's friends is killed and the magician gets away.

    What's hanging me up is that throughout the story, the MC get betrayed in a serious way twice and I'm concerned that readers will get annoyed and find him to be a gullible fool. Since the MC is about 15 and looking to rule the territory after his father, the story mainly is about him learning important lessons needed to become an effective ruler. In that sense I thought it would be all right, but while I'm writing it the MC just seems like such a fool for making a deal with two known criminals and I'm not sure if readers will have the patience to continue reading about him as he learns.

    Is there a way to alleviate this? Or am I just overthinking?

    Thanks for any and all help in advance. Sorry for the length.
  2. hawls

    hawls Active Member

    May 24, 2016
    Likes Received:
    You need a red herring.

    Basically you need someone who behaves even more suspiciously than both the exile and the servant. In this case you may even need two red herrings.

    You're not over thinking it. You have the privileged perspective of the author. You can see all the nuts and bolts.

    Imagine your story world exists inside an interrogation chamber. You are the person standing in the next room looking through the one way glass. Your reader is inside the interrogation chamber, dazzled by the story and when they look at the glass, all they see is the reflection of the room, the reflection of the story world.
    ChloeW likes this.
  3. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

    Sep 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I don't think it will necessarily make your main character look foolish, unless it's somehow obvious to everyone else (and the reader).

    There have to be reasons why he doesn't suspect the criminals, or like @hawls said some sort of red herring to throw him off.

    As for the servent being the mastermind & the master being the assistant/scape goat, I think if handled well that makes a lot of sense to overlook. Most would naturally assume that the servant is subservient to the master & the master is the one pulling the strings; the servant then is just serving & obeying his master's orders. So it would follow rationally that one would attempt to turn the servant & offer some sort of reward or leniency in assisting the capture or incarceration of the perceived criminal master. This can be a really nice reveal if it follows logically from what you have shared already but simultaneously isn't made too obvious at the onset.

    But definitely a tricky business. Good luck
  4. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
    Likes Received:
    It does seem like you're basically doing the same thing twice. I wouldn't worry about your MC looking gullible - I'd rather worry you would bore the reader, that the reveal would be sort of, "Oh c'mon, not that again! How uninspiring," rather than as it should be, which would be, "Wow I did not see that coming - that's ingenius!"

    I would eliminate the first twist if I were you. Can't you start the story from the point of the document having been stolen? You never want to do the same thing twice in a book - it becomes predictable. And for a crime story, being predictable is certainly not a good thing.
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Aug 23, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Or at least make it bigger: the first twist is isolated, but the second leads in the same breath to a third one?
  6. Scorpion02Tyr

    Scorpion02Tyr New Member

    Oct 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Longview, TX
    If he keeps getting betrayed, maybe he could use lessons learned from the first two times and twist what at first appears to be another betrayal into a victory?
  7. Grub-r

    Grub-r Member

    Oct 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    New York
    Could it be possible for him to learn from the first mistake and instead of making a friendly deal with the servant he instead threatens to execute him .

    Technically he's still making a deal but going at it from a different direction. Reward vs Punishment.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice