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Tim Lieder

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Getting sick of this plot twist. [Sep. 23rd, 2011|03:25 pm]
Tim Lieder
I actually did this one too (in the almost published until the publisher decided to work on his pirate book instead Dragon Claw Apocalypse) where the protagonist is either supposed to find a major villain or a godlike figure and in the midst of his travels, he comes across a wandering holy man, beggar monk, whatever. And then its only a matter of time before the hero finds out that - SHOCK!!! - the beggar monk is really the Evil Villain (or godlike figure).

catvalente just mentioned Bridge of Birds and I've just finished the first book in Jack Chalker's Lords of the Diamond series and I just realized how often this has been the major plot twist - so much so that it'd be a bigger plot twist if the damn beggar man, monk, whatever turned out to just be a damn monk instead of the SUPER SECRET LORD OF EVERYTHING.

Although now that I write it, I realize that it's been awhile since I've read this kind of book. I have kind of missed that cliche.

[User Picture]From: gmdreia
2011-09-23 07:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, I do that in "Curio Man" (which may never see publication), which is about a 19th century Tibetan monk's adventures after he's sent out of his monastery to answer a question for his teacher. He is identified early in as a tulku (reincarnated lama).

The monk turns out to be just a damn monk, and his identification as a reincarnated lama, turns out to be a mistake. And part of a successive series of practical jokes played by these two lamas (one of whom was the one which he was supposedly the incarnation of) over a series of lifetimes.

Edited at 2011-09-23 07:56 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: st_rev
2011-09-23 08:42 pm (UTC)
I kind of want to see a combinatorial search for plot twists, to determine if there are any that aren't cliches. E.g.: make a list of standard character types, generate a list of templates like 'SHOCK!!! - the X is really the Y', enumerate possibilities and do a literature search.

In my one novel, the big plot twist is 'SHOCK!!! - the Evil Villain is really Bob Dylan'. I don't think that one's been done much.

Edited at 2011-09-23 08:44 pm (UTC)
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From: littlebbob
2011-09-23 11:13 pm (UTC)
If you allow SHOCK stacking, then you immediately get a countable number of possible twists (each of finite complexity, even) so it follows trivially that there non-cliched ones. They might be trivial, like:

SHOCK! The Evil Villain Is NOT Bob Dyland after we thought SHOCK that it WAS Bob Dylan after we thought SHOCK that it was NOT Bob Dylan after SHOCK it turns out that it is Bob Dylan.

But they're definitely not cliched!

If you allow novels of countable length then of course the number of possible plot twists available depends on your set theory.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2011-10-07 04:25 pm (UTC)
But All Along the Watch Tower was really composed thousands of years ago as a trigger to wake up the Cylons!
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[User Picture]From: st_rev
2011-09-23 09:25 pm (UTC)
In Grant Morrison's The Invisibles, Dane McGowan/Jack Frost is supposed to be a future Buddha. At the end of the series, it turns out that no, the guy standing next to him in the first issue was actually the future Buddha.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2011-09-25 12:40 am (UTC)
I've seen that done. I kind of like that twist - especially when Rowling hints at it in Harry Potter (although I rather like the fact that everyone participates in the 7th book thereby giving us the proletariat ending) - I like it mostly because the Mary Sue character type that is the CHOSEN ONE gets done way too often.
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