Best way to write a betrayal

Question: Okay, so, quite early on in this book i'm working on one of the main characters stumbles upon a plot to kill another main character. The main character that discovers the plot's best friend is one of the plotters, but I don't know how to reveal it. Should I just have it like, "Bam! Your best buddy wants to kill this dude," and make it so sudden it's like a slap or should I slowly build up suspense and like, leave little clues here and there. I've decided exactly how the character finds out but i don't exactly know how to build up to. Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, it's hard to explain what I'm thinking, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: It depends what the story goal is.

In many crime stories, such as cozy mysteries or whodunits, the goal is to find out who the bad guy is. So the plot is the gradual gathering of clues, unveiling of relationships, etc.

In other stories, the goal is to prevent a crime from taking place, so "who's planning to do what" is revealed early on and the bulk of the plot concerns the effort to undermine the plan.

Some stories are about capturing the villain. In these, the plot is the chase or the hunt.

And you can also have a story where the main character sees the villain doing a lot of strange or illegal things, but doesn't know why or what all these events mean. So the goal may be to understand what is going on and the plot may revolve around putting the pieces together to reveal the pattern.

If you know what your goal is, that tells you what the plot will be about, and that should tell you when the reader needs to know what the villain is up to.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero