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29

Foreshadowing is your friend. Your example of Harry Potter isn't quite right. Chapter One is titled The Boy Who Lived. Now that's a bit ominous. Magic is hinted at on page 1* and is outright on page 2. "You-Know-Who" is first mentioned on page 5. By page 11, when the name Voldemort is first mentioned, we already know he was a danger and now believed to ...


16

Four chapters in, your readers should have an idea what they're in for. Not everything that's going to happen, but certainly a hint. Once you've hinted that there is darkness, you can skirt it, turn your back on it for a while, or plunge right into it as you see fit in different parts of your story. But it can't just show up out of nowhere more than a ...


6

Other than the already given answers, setting the stage really helps. I'm going to refer to the short story we studied in high school specifically on how to introduce a story. To summarize, a doctor (MC/narrator) is visited by a friend, missing his two legs and one arm. The friend explains that he's addicted to eating his own flesh, and asks the doctor's ...


4

Human beings are complex and flawed creatures. We do not each have just the one flaw. We have multiple failings, and multiple lies we tell ourselves. Now, for a story one has to simplify reality somewhat - focus only on those lies and flaws that are conductive to telling the story. But if you simplify the story to the point of each character just having the ...


2

I don't think it is too much. Many characters have "double lies", and in a way one can block the other. You say the deep lie won't make your MC fail in action, but that isn't true: You say the MC cannot defeat the antagonist without learning both truths: Thus continuing to believe the deep lie would indeed make the MC fail. Sometimes, undoing a deep lie ...


1

Different levels of complexity are necessary for different types of readers. If you’re writing for kids, they’ll only really keep track of one thing. But for young adults and above, I think this is appropriate. Readers are smart and they love to wrestle with more difficult things like that. While you’re writing, just go with it and don’t think about it. ...


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