How can I structure this twist without it being jarring to the audience?

ironpony

New member
For my script, 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?
 

Jared Isham

Moderator
I would first evaluate if hiding the death would be a deescalation or if it would be an escalation. If the story takes a dip in the stakes for the characters I would guess that you probably want to go with the other.

Having not read the story this may not work but what if the character fakes his death but it goes horrible wrong...then the reader thinks the character botched their fake death and actually died.

I like to play the escalation game though, if it makes it easier for the character then I find something else.
 

ironpony

New member
Okay thanks. By escalation vs. deescalation, I assume you mean raising the steaks vs. not raising them,. Well I think that either showing the character faking his death, vs. the audience thinking he actually died both raises the steaks, but in different ways.

As for having his plan screw up and he actually dies, it might lead to a plot hole if he dies, and he might have to live all the way through for his plan to succeed. But if he were to kill himself by accident on faking his death, how would he do that exactly?

I mean maybe the antagonists he is trying to pin his faked death on, find out about it, and kill him for real or something, so his death is pinned on them anyway... But I don't know if the plot would hold together cause I don't think he could complete his plan unless he remains alive.

So I think I might have to figure out a way to hide the death from the audience, but at the same time, the audience not find it strange how a character is killed off, and the police are all of a sudden investigating the death, without seeing who killed the character or how he was killed at all.
 
Last edited:

Jared Isham

Moderator
In essence yes, escalations are kind of like stakes but slightly different.

Stakes might be fake his death to save his dog...or save his wife. I would think the wife would be higher stakes.

Escalations would be more like, cornered in an alley and attacker pulls out a knife, knife is an escalation.

Escalations are the oppositional elements. Stakes are what the character has to lose.

A de-escalation is when your character stuck in the alley is confronted by a man who asks for directions to the candy store. That sort of thing.

The rest you are just gonna have to workshop.
 

ironpony

New member
Okay thanks. In this case, I guess it would be steaks then and not an escalation at this point. If there is no escalation at this point does that automatically make it a de-escalation?

Which one should I go with then for whether or not I should reveal the surprise early on?
 
Last edited:

Jared Isham

Moderator
The big question to ask is if your conflict supports your page count. I try to cram as many escalation into a scene as I can. If there is nothing at stake then there likely won't be much conflict.

I can't really give you the answer for your script without knowing the context of the entire story. I would make a list of ideas until you feel you've found the best solution.
 

ironpony

New member
Okay thanks. I already made a list and there are two ideas which I think may be the best the so far. This is one of them. As for trying to cram as much escalation as I can, I feel like I could use more, but I don't want it to be forced.

Like I want the characters to do what I feel they would naturally and logically do. If they would naturally do something that means some escalation but not an extreme amount, should I still go with it? What's more important? Natural character decisions, or extreme amounts of escalation, even if it means defying character nature to a degree?
 

Jared Isham

Moderator
Never let the character break character. You could always do what they did for Breaking Bad, choose how you want your character to react and keep throwing ideas for escalations at them until they react they way you want them to. Then you will know what situations cause them respond a certain way.
 
Top