I don’t remember where I first heard the term “plot bombs,” but I immediately understood what they were. They’re sort of like land mines, laid down in either a previous text or an earlier point in the current one. And then the reader hits them and perhaps stop for a moment to think, “Oh, so THAT’S what <blank> was all about.”
It can be a little more refined than that, but it’s the same principle, which I just ran across from the writer’s perspective. One of those multiple cases where my subconscious is clearly smarter than the rest of me. Those who have read Black Kath’s Daughter may remember a rather unpleasant creature called a craja. Marta thought she understood what they are, and the future danger she was in of becoming one.
In the scene I’m writing now, I was going to show Marta that she was entirely wrong about the craja. In preparation for writing it, I was referring back to their original appearance to make sure I was getting the details of my own creation right (happens all the time in a series).
So what did I find? I find that, way back then, the Power Amaet had already told her what a craja really was, and Marta, perhaps partly due to her loathing of Amaet, just wasn’t listening. In short, she’s about to find out what she already should have known from the beginning. All that worry…not exactly for nothing. Definitely something, but not the something Marta thought it was. Sure, I knew what they were, but I had no memory of the fact that Marta should also have known.
Will be something of a shock to her when she realizes this.
Something of a shock to me already.
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