In a post-apocalyptic novel I'm writing (which is the subject of many questions I've asked on Writing.SE), I recently cut out my entire Chapter 10-11. I was revealing the MC, Eris' finékinesis (death-force manipulation) to her love interest, Caspian, and her accidental killing of his mother and her own family, but in the middle of writing it, I realized that it was probably too soon, realistically, for Eris to reveal a part of her past that she'd blocked out after knowing Caspian for roughly a week.

At this point in the story, however, Eris' own actions are becoming more obvious to her, and my beta readers also understand that Eris is the one who killed both Caspian's mom and Eris' family. I just don't think it's the right time to reveal this to the characters, and I'm faltering a bit on identifying when is a good time.

If this helps, according to an eight-point story arc, I think my story is moving from the quest stage to the surprise stage.

  • Do you mean Worldbuilding.SE?
    – Cyn
    Jul 14, 2019 at 0:05
  • @Cyn Nope, I mean here
    – user34214
    Jul 14, 2019 at 1:31
  • How exactly does the twist affect the plot? How exactly does the revelation build on that? What else might matter? Feb 10, 2021 at 22:17

3 Answers 3


What is the emotional context of this revelation, to Eris? You have the option of her revealing her ability, and vulnerability, as a profound moment--it could even be the mirror moment, the rededication moment, at which point the trials of act II are something she has weathered and is ready to accept and move forward.

Or it could be a final plot twist.

At the halfway point of the novel, there is a deepness, a darkness, and the protagonist is struggling between the easy path and the right path. the reader is hoping the protagonist chooses the hard path of righteousness. If she does, she id rededicating herself to the quest.

Whether this halfway point is the moment of revealing her power or not depends on the other aces you have up your sleeve. My instincts say at the halfway point or else near the climax.

Answer: Put the reveal at the halfway point, assuming you have a bigger twist waiting for the climax. If this is the biggest twist, put it closer to 85%.


The 8-point arc:

  1. Stasis (Normal World)
  2. Trigger (Inciting Incident)
  3. The quest (Leaving the Normal World)
  4. Surprise[s] (actions complicating/learning the problem)
  5. Critical choice (Understanding, then choosing risk)
  6. Climax (Solving the problem, incurring the costs)
  7. Reversal (Fallout -- problem solved, underdog on top)
  8. Resolution (The New Normal World).

I believe you are on track! In (4)[surprises] the nature of Eris' problem is something she needs to become certain of. The deaths are her fault. There can be no more question in her mind, or the reader's mind. This is a complicating factor, a conflict, she knows she is guilty and is reluctant to do anything about it, because it has the potential to ruin her life. There should be some consequences for keeping this secret, even if she is the only one that feels them.

In (5)[Critical Choice] Eris needs to come to the realization it is going to definitely ruin her life if she continues to let this secret fester inside her. It will destroy her relationship. Perhaps her love interest is despondent over the death of his mother, or thinks he knows who did it and plans to take vengeance on an innocent person -- Making Eris responsible for yet another death. She has to make the critical choice to risk her relationship by revealing the truth, with the evidence for it.

In (6)[Climax] She does this. It doesn't have to be the only climax, but it could be. Perhaps she does this after the main Climax.

In (7)[Reversal] She is forgiven.

In (8)[Resolution] Her relationship is consummated, with no deceptions, she is loved for her true self.


If it is inappropriate for Eris to tell Caspian, but from the reader's POV it is wrong (or worse: frustrating) for Caspian not to know... Have him figure it out for himself.

Instant conflict and all that, while staying true to the nature of your MC. For examples where this has been done, the story structure is called Liar Revealed. It does apply to lies by omission.

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