Perceptions

Discussion in 'All Things LitRPG' started by Gryphon, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Well over halfway done now with a heavy rewrite (aka a new book) for Incipere, and somethings kinda hit me as no beta readers for part one have noticed what I thought was bleedingly obvious.

    What does it take for a reader to question something intentionally off in a book?
    How many times does it have to occur before a reader questions the fact randomly italicized or bold-ed words were done on purpose and start to question why it was done?
    Do readers just go in with tunnel vision and ignore these small things on purpose?
     
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  2. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Ooooh, I like this question.

    I kinda like how you think about things very much... not sure how to explain.

    Unfortunately... readers don't question anything unless the characters question it first. I'm sure most readers are fast readers who don't chew on every word (or they would not be reading pop genre, because if you want to chew on every word, more literary stuff is more rewarding that way).

    And especially if it's a format issue, I'm sure the readers will actually assume the author made a mistake.
     
  3. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I love hiding things in plain sight, but I want them to question it. That's the problem. Assumptions are the right trick to it, but how do I make a pattern emerge properly?
     
  4. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Give obvious hints: Character thought something looked different, but was too busy to pay it attention.

    Next time: Character is reading quest prompts out loud "Go do this and that and something else and the emergingconsciousness will reward you -- okay it's bolded so it must be imoportant"

    Then: "OMG the emergingconsciousness has bolded itself and is therefore conscious!"

    Of course, do it way more times than that.

    Apologies for the horrid example.

    On a separate note that's slightly related: a fine example of this is from The Wheel of Time where the Dragon Reborn guy starts to talk to Rand and then there are a billion instances of "in a voice Rand wasn't sure was his own" or something like that. Although I fell out of love with that series after a while, I think this aspect was very well done, and I could never pinpoint the exact moment when the guy became more than just Rand's own thoughts.

    And... what's obvious to you is totally not obvious to readers, so I think it's important to keep that in mind.
     
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  5. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I guess I shouldn't hide it within the change logs, binary, and double encoded text then...
    Still going to hide it in the change log... no one reads the change logs :)
     
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  6. Thomas Davidsmeier

    Thomas Davidsmeier Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    This is something that I really had to learn at the beginning of writing. I love Easter Eggs and connections and hidden bits and stuff. Then I realized, other people can't see those connections unless you really point them out. You'll think you're totally giving it all away, but they still will only barely get it.
     
  7. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Does eating them give you stat boosts? Or does you use Easter Eggs in some other way?
     
  8. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Three to five times?

    Grats on the progress!
     
  9. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    On the reverse, you gotta be careful about dropping details that sound like clues but aren't... I forget which craft book I read that in. Maybe Stephen King's?

    Anyway, it was basically saying don't put to much focus on a pair of gloves if those gloves never, ever show up in the story again. If you're going into details or dropping a lot of clues, readers will pick up on it.
     
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  10. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I'd say don't hide... point, nudge, gently.


    A bunch of 'cheap tricks':

    "...which Character was sure wasn't there before"
    "...which was somehow bolded"
    "... and Character thought she had seen that before somewhere"


    The problem is there are going to be people who notice and people who don't, and they're going to have different reactions: "I saw it coming from a mile away this is so stupid the author can't do proper foreshadowing" and "That came out of nowhere what the heck with no foreshadowing"

    Can't win :p

    On a more serious note, after giving it some thought, because it's a good question, I think you have to establish what's normal first and hit the readers on the head over and over that this is "normal", and since when I read LitRPG I don't actually retain a lot of info, I'd prefer it if the author states it clearly what the normal baseline is, so you need, say 5 instances of saying "rare mobs are silver" and "goblins are trash mobs" each -- and then when you see a "silver goblin", readers will have the reaction you want without you having to tell them "this is different!". So, in short, to call attention to change, to 'off-ness', you have to first establish a very solid baseline.
     
  11. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    This is a very good point. Readers will feel cheated if they think they're on to something and it turns out to be nothing...
     
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  12. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I'll add that some of it depends on the type of readers.

    Readers that devour books at a rapid rate--pouring through one and moving onto the next--are going to pick up on specific information or clues less readily than someone who reads with a greater focus on story, and possibly re-reads novels they enjoy. The different readers have a different purpose (or focus) for reading, and what they're trying to get out of the tale.
     
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