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C11P29 – On Time

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Everything in Warren’s world is about to change.

This was a secret I originally planned to hold onto for much longer than this when I plotted out the story. However, I realized that the questions posed in response to this reveal were actually far more interesting than the reveal itself. Secrets, it turns out, are better shared. Having Warren’s older brother be involved ALL ALONG is a moment that has a very brief pay-off. Dealing with the consequences and seeing how characters change and adapt because of that connection gave my brain a lot more to chew on. It’s taken the plot and characters in very different directions than previously imagined, and the results are far more satisfying for me. Especially since the “ALL ALONG” twist is one that’s played a lot, so the outcomes are not very unique or exciting when it’s dumped at the end. Having it come fairly early (relatively speaking) makes the territory a little less well charted.

For example, Cory and I were recently watching a new show on Netflix, which I will not name due to spoilers, but within the first five minutes I turned to Cory and said “If they draw out the fact that she is clearly that dude’s daughter for the entire show, I may explode.” To which he responded, “Yeah, I saw it too.” Our friend, who has seen farther than us, was surprised that we knew this so early…and confirmed that, yes, they do indeed drag it out. Which, I suppose, means that I should cover my walls in plastic wrap so my inevitable explosion is easier to clean up. It’s a variation of that “ALL ALONG” twist that I wish shows would move away from, for the same reason that I’m trying to with my own writing. Knowing raises far more questions than not knowing.

What kinds of twists do you think are more interesting when explored than revealed?

21 Comments

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Ah yes, that show. I thought the same thing! Luckily there are enough other twists in the show to keep me motivated in watching. You certainly had me doing a double-take on this page though!

It amuses me to wonder about whether we’re all actually talking about the same show, or if the trope is so common that we’re all thinking of different shows but the end result is practically the same.

It makes me want to start making things up about it just to add to the confusing. “Oh yeah, and then the bit with the elephant in the room? I mean, I’m one for metaphors and all, but I never thought they’d actually bring in a real one!”

I think a re-read of this entire series is now in order.

May I suggest Chapter Five in particular? 🙂

Yeah, THAT SHOW. Order of the Stick showcases a very similar scenario early on. http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0050.html

I gotta say that it was clear Warren was on the “good guy” side, and the fact that he was at odds with Renar gave me pause on a gut level. But I’d definitely want to give it a re-read as well, because I don’t remember much else about how Renar was presented other than “Daddy’s Little Mr. Perfect-Pants.”

This is why I avoid writing secret alliances too seriously; I take so long I don’t think people will remember the characters enough to care. So I tend to err on the side of being real stupidly overt with them (“HEY GUESS WHAT I HAVE A BAD GUY SECRET!”) and having fun with the consequences.

The fact that in a webcomic there’s too much distance/time between character introductions and events was another reason I decided to make this reveal now rather than later. Without it being in the open, there was no way to get Renar involved enough to have it make sense that he was…well…involved. Shoving him in with no clear motive would have just become progressively more contrived. This way the reason is clear, and we can actually get to know the character a little better in a way that makes sense.

Also, I’m gonna confess, I wouldn’t have known it was intended to be a big “showing his true colors” reveal because I haven’t seen Renar directly talking to the bad guys yet. I would have just assumed “oh, Lu Pai and Milan weaseled their way into some other sucker’s favor” until Renar actually said something to the effect of “Yes, I derail trains and killify innocent people for the glory and purity of the empire. Why don’t you join me, brother?”

And the more I analyze it, the bigger emotion I feel is relief on Warren’s behalf. Because his perception of not being wanted by his father on his deathbed was probably not about being second-favorite, but because his father knew about Renar’s involvment in the conspiracy. See, Warren! You were loved all along! Doesn’t that make you feel better? (Now, uhhh, try not to get murdered, okay?)

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