How can I hide this twist till the end without it becoming jarring to the reader?

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Thread: How can I hide this twist till the end without it becoming jarring to the reader?

  1. #1

    How can I hide this twist till the end without it becoming jarring to the reader?

    For my story, a character fakes his death as part of his plan, and I can either let the reader in on it right away, or wait till the climax where he will show up alive by surprise, not just to the other characters but to the reader as well.

    However, in order to hide the false death so it can be a surprise, I would have to skip ahead in the story. I would have to skip from the character's last scene, before he comes up with the plan for his false death, and skip to where he is already dead and it's in the news, for the other characters to hear about, with scorched body found from the morgue or something like that.

    But the reader will find this odd, that this character's death was never shown, especially since he is a supporting character and not that minor at all.

    So in order to hide the twist without the reader being jarred with an odd skip ahead, is there anything I can do? Or should I not hide it, if I cannot avoid an odd skip ahead, do you think?

  2. #2
    Foreshadow it; leave clues, hints, and suggestions. Dribble this misisng character's influence all along the timeline where he is not present.

  3. #3
    A book plays-out like a movie. Each scene after the faked death either has his absence, or he is a stranger to the other characters in the scene. One of the beautiful things about writing third person point of view is you can write about a man untying a sailboat at a dock and going for a sail without ever saying anything but describing the action. The story down the road will reveal the importance of the scene.
    Last edited by Jigawatt; June 24th, 2016 at 01:15 AM.

  4. #4
    Member stevesh's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Mid-Michigan, USA
    I've seen this sort of thing done, but I don't know if I've seen it done well. It makes me, as a reader, feel sort of cheated or duped.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Sofiya, Bulgaria
    The question is, Do you have enough material and enough characters to carry your story in his absence?
    Time skipping will just suck, as the reader will not really realize how long he has been absent.

    Why would a cop want to fake his own death? How can that in the end be justified towards his friends and family etc?

  6. #6
    Well the cop doesn't have a family, and is a bit of loner in his persona life. He has friends on the force, and he fakes his death, pinning on the villains. He leaves a trail of bread crumbs that will lead to evidence of the villains other past crimes.

    Now he will be in trouble for faking death of course later on, when the case is over, but he manipulates the police into gathering evidence of other crimes. Since the police are manipulated into uncovering other evidence of other crimes BY ACCIDENT, they are able to use that evidence. Kind of like how if the police search a building for evidence legally for evidence of one crime, but they accidentally uncover evidence of another, they can use that accidentally found evidence.

    So in this case the police are manipulated to investigating a homicide that never really happened and it's a ruse, but they are still able to use other accidentally found evidence from that ruse.

    So that is the plan of the cop who fakes his death. There are other characters to carry the story in his absence. That's no problem.

    It's just there will be a shift in POV. Usually in a story if a supporting character is killed off such as in this case, the reader is still use to having it shown to him, in progress. They are not use to following a POV of a supporting character, but then when the POV shifts back to the more main characters, all of a sudden that supporting character is now dead, a few days or weeks later.

    It reads like an awkward skip over the important event, in order to hide the surprise.

  7. #7
    Here's what I think: stop bumping these inane threads. Nobody can answer your questions without seeing your work. Post your work and stop annoying people with the same questions over and over again.

  8. #8
    How is this the same question though. I asked if this character's "death" not being shown, would jar the reader. I have never asked that before.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    How is this the same question though. I asked if this character's "death" not being shown, would jar the reader. I have never asked that before.
    You do ask the same questions: is this a plot hole, is that a plot hole, etc. The only way we can know whether this particular idea is jarring or not is if you post your work where we can see it.

  10. #10
    Member DaBlaRR's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
    North Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Ya IP why don't you post some work. I would actually be interested to read it... more so than the same ol questions.
    disclaimer: I type to ask quuuesstions... if for wutever reeeson i mistake a their with there, or a two with to... or anything of the sort... forums is where i can lazeee tipe and not put effort in... i am not a professional...

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