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Plot twist or major disappointment?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Darkfantasy, Jan 13, 2021.

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  1. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Some plot twists are amazing but some can be disappointing so, thinking through the new idea I've had for my current wip I realised I could be either doing a good twist or a really disappointing one and wanted some opinions and suggestions to make it good, not bad.

    In my story an evil wizard had an issue with a town of people, having been told they would defeat him by a seer he created a curse that would fall over the town if he was killed in this battle. The curse was that the town would become closed off to the outside world, no one could enter and no one could leave. Although time wouldn't stop, death would. So no one would ever get any release from sickness or old age. Every 20 years he could return or choose another to fight for him and attempt to destroy the town again. A good witch, who had been saved by the town counter-acted the curse with a blessing that each time the villain came someone in the town would be gifted with magic in order to defeat him - a saviour. This saviour would defend the town from the villain and in this time only could the curse be broken if they could discover how. Obviously my main character (Kara) is the saviour but due to internal conflicts has problems controlling her magic and lacks confidence. The evil chosen to fight the town this time is a threat not only to the town, but Kara has been blessed with the ability to defeat him but needs guidance. Her family and friends have been supportive but some people need a kick not a hug. So a dark saviour is sent to help her in the form of the villain. A dark saviour is someone who still saves but tends to do so by darker means (like an anti-hero). Her job is to prepare Kara for the real villain and convince her she is the one sent to destroy the town while trying to get Kara to think like a warrior and be smarter in her strategies and help her get over her mental block that affects her magic working properly.

    Not sure if this is a good idea. Or if people will want to see a showdown between the two only to discover she was helping her all along. Maybe a bit disappointing? The readers will get to see a real showdown between Kara and the real villain. But if the dark saviour is there to help why not just tell them that? She’s there to give Kara what she needs to defeat him and since the curse was cast the only person to enter the town is the next villain so would they believe her? This just feels like an idea with too many holes. What do you think?
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Yada

    Yada New Member

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    I think your plot is great and it seems really fun. The only thing I would say is maybe come up with another situation for the curse? Perhaps it is very similar to a Netflix show called Once Upon a Time. The town people are cursed by the witch in the Snow White story and they can't leave nor can anyone come in.
     
  3. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    It's hard to judge based on your outline. And that is because it will depend on how you write it.

    A good description I have come across for twists (and endings) is "surprising but inevitable". You need to set it up throughout the story in the same way a mystery writer does with the murderer. You want the reader to figure it out the paragraph before it happens.

    So, subtle Foreshadowing throughout the book and you will be fine. On the other hand, if it comes out of the blue, then readers will feel cheated.
     
    Darkfantasy and Devor like this.
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Without seeing more, this falls into the baseline “it depends on how well you write it” which is very unhelpful. There are plot twists, and then there are holy crap plot twists. The latter is tricky, and I know I hit one once in Eve of Snows because that’s what my editor said on reading it, LOL, but it’s hard as hell to tell whether you succeed until you get reader reaction. Twists with reversals are even trickier.

    For this particular setup... It seems like it’ll all be about how well you set it up and execute the events AND motivations.
     
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Sounds like a good story to me.
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Yeah, I'm going to echo the others and suggest that it sounds great if you have the skill level to pull it off. You've got to create that sense of something being off with the dark savior throughout the story.

    Aside from that I do see another concern. You're making the real villain even more distant. You might want look at ways to counter that and bring the villain closer to the forefront. That sounds at odds with the idea of making the dark saviour look like a villain. It's something to figure out.

    One thought I had, is that this sounds to me more like a mid-point reveal than an end-of-book reveal. You want to leave yourself with enough time to have the character struggle with the revelation and face the villain in a post-mentor world.
     
  7. Kyne

    Kyne Acolyte

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    I really like this idea. If you pull it off, I can see a lot of potential tragedy in making your savior think her mentor is the real bad guy. I wonder how that will end for them. Will her mentor be killed by the antagonist? Will they stand together in the end? Will they have to have a big long talk about how the mentor isn't actually the bad guy? And the growth it has the potential to force the protagonist to go through is amazing!

    The only trouble is, how will you introduce your real antagonist? And how will you convince your protagonist that her mentor isn't the antagonist? People who are brought up their whole lives believing one thing can have a hard time changing their perceptions. For instance, if you are brought up your whole life believing that black cats are bad and your society enforces that belief you might actually turn and walk the other way if one crosses your path. Its just something to think about. Like Devor said, you have to create that sense of doubt about the dark savior.
     
  8. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    The dark saviour needs a good reason to be helping Kara besides she read the script and found out she had to. She needs a good reason to believe that the way she's doing it is the right way. She needs to have a good reason to hide it from her, and she needs a good reason to reveal it.

    Also make her and Kara kiss, which solves the "she needs a good reason to reveal it" issue.
     
  9. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm not sure if I do have the skill to pull it off but if we don't challenge ourselves we don't grow and improve, right? I don't think this is an idea I can panster, which is my usual approach. I think if I do that it may end up a mess. You guys gave me some good questions to think about.
     
  10. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Yeah, I wasn't so keen on using a curse but this was a new idea and a curse is basically what it is so I just went with it. I don't know what else I could call it when a curse is basically what it is.
     
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    It sounds like a curse. I'd be happy with that as a reader.

    The one hole that I noticed (maybe it was just a shadow...) is this: if the good witch can gift saviors with the power to defend the town, why doesn't the good witch simply kill the bad guy? Why mess around with intermediaries?

    The dark savior might be a weak reed. Why does it have to be dark? Maybe it was supposed to be good (sent by the good witch, after all) but something went wrong? There would be a danger of the story being about this dark savior, who seems to have a character arc, rather than the MC who at the point doesn't have a character arc but only a plot arc. (I struggle with that all the time so maybe I'm over-sensitive to that)
     
  12. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    There's always the second draft.

    I plot (in my own fashion at least). But all the specific foreshadowing I put in my book was put in on the second draft. It's coming to the climax of the story and realising I solve the problem by doing X. When I go back for the second draft, I make sure to add in X at one or two points before the climax, or hint at it or place a red hearing for it. You can easily do the same here. The dark savior and the protagonish will clash a few times before they join forces (or whatever). When you get to the moment that they join forces and you find that they do so because the dark savior considers the protagonist ready, then you can go back to a couple of instances and show the protagonist not be ready and the dark savior react to it in some way.
     
    Darkfantasy likes this.
  13. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Thanks again for the replies guys. I asked on another forum and it met with negativity and people just generally not getting the premise. If the premise doesn't make sense then how can the entire story.
     
  14. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you. If it makes sense in your head, then you can make it work. Lots of settings don't make sense if you think about it too much.

    On the face of it, mixing the lost roman legion with pokemon doesn't make sense, but Codex Alera became a bestseller based on this premise. Encapsulation a whole town in a dome makes little sense, but Under the dome did pretty well. I'm sure I can think of a few more if I must. The point is, write the story if you are exited about it. When you're done, read it (or ask other people for comments) and fix what needs fixing.
     
  15. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Provided 1. The two saviors dont kill each other and 2. There is a reason the second savior can enter (maybe she has strong enough magic to force her way in?) That can be explained I see no issue.
     
  16. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    Thanks, this idea does need a lot more work and it was an idea I stumbled upon just doing brain-storming and trying to think of something that I haven't seen done and something that would be a challenge as I'm beginning to feel bored with what I write because it's simple - the sort of ideas that a novice should write for practise. My question was more about any tips to pull it off like foreshadowing that the 'dark saviour' was a mentor in disguise but I think the question was misunderstood and people instead gave their opinions on it rather than writing tools I could use (which I think is my fault for the way I worded it) but it turned out good because those people outlined some very major issues and problems it could have. I've written those problems down and am working my way through them. And because I haven't read a novel that uses this premise I don't have anything to use as a reference which would have been helpful.
    The main thing I realised is that the 'dark saviour' needs a damn good reason to act as an enemy or maybe multiple reasons.
     
  17. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    My initial impressions are juggling the savoir and dark savoir and how the dark savoir isn't the true villain can fall into convoluted territory, so be careful. IMHO, try to make sure things are clear and in some cases that may mean keeping thing simple.

    In every story the protagonist has someone challenging their opinions on what the right path is. To me that's what the dark savior sounds like. They don't have to be the villain. Sometimes they're friends and family. Sometimes they're the mentor. Mentors don't always have to be the supportive, grandfatherly confidant with the beard. It's just the person who constantly asks why this way instead of that.

    If you're playing with savior/dark savior, you're kind of playing with dark and light, a yin and yang sort of relationship. If the savior gets gifted with power and stuff, maybe the dark savior has he opposite happen. In order to balance the forc...err.. ahem... In order to keep the natural order balanced, if someone is given something, something must be taken away from another.

    So if Kara has a good life and is gifted with this magic, maybe the dark savior has been "cursed" with a crappy life and had all the good things in their life stripped away. And the strength they have has been hard earned/stolen from others. IMHO, that's a seed for lots of different motivations depending on how you want things to play out.
     
  18. Toby Johnson

    Toby Johnson Minstrel

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    there is a fine line, if you make it a plot twist that has been seen many times then it wont come as a surprise and will seem disapointing and the reader will have worked themselves up for this. but is something is written and it is actually surprising and good then the reader will feel good about themselves
     
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