Monday, August 17, 2009

Creative Decisions, Moral Decisions

So there I was in bed pondering my story and two plot questions popped up.

Deciding between the two kinds of suspense.
A) Reader knows, protag doesn't.
or B) Neither reader nor protag knows ...until the end.

Just afraid "secret" will be guessed by astute reader, or reader who looks at last few pages of book.I might have to hide the "big reveal" at the end in such a way that some geeky "read-the ending-before I-finish-it reader can't spoil it. It's not such a big issue, not like a mystery, but it's important in its own way. In WF some readers-- depending on their suspicious minds-- suspected the baddie instantly. In this, ...no baddies, just human frailties. And I'm wondering if I really have a villain, per se. It's not like me to make a person totally guiltym and sinful. I like post-modern types who have a little of this badness but are really more weak than evil.
I don't even think they'd be looking for that particular Who-is-Ephan's dad issue. It would never occur to them. It's a bit of a surprise that suddenly sheds light on some-but-not-all of what's gone on before. But still, I'd like them to find out about that particular aspect at the time my protag does. Then there's something else that is hidden from protag that protag never really discovers. Don't know about that.

Readers might want protag to know what they know. Ah, the trials of manipulating the reader! In short, a warrior is the king's son but the king's other sons don't know it. When does warrior's secret son find out? Does reader know when he finds out? What do his brothers know and when? When does narrator spill the beans to readers, when king tells secret son? That's the first creative quandary.

Other suspense:
Deciding if I will allow a main character -- not THE main character-- to have an evil side. Should he take part in the rape of a character?

I've already written that the bad guy has done it. But it's also possible that this particular main character also is involved. And that would mean maligning his character. I rather like him being noble. He's a good person. But if I involve him in this rape, it'll add some suspense and it'll bring a lot of grief into the story. And I can't help it. I love dealing with grief. But am I getting too nihilistic? Too angsty? Gotta think.

And, of course, if good guy is part of the rape that takes place, then that adds another decision about another kind of suspense. The rapist and the raped know about the incident...but the protag-- the husband of the raped girl and the son of the rapist-- doesn't know. Should he know? So...thinking.... Will see. Don't want to get too complicated or make men all evil.
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