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.

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