Why Your Hero Should Eavesdrop and Make a Bad Assumption (in 4 steps) | Better Novel Project

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If every story had perfect communication between characters, Romeo and Juliet would have lived happily ever after. Alas, the messenger never reached Romeo and he famously misinterprets the situation when he sees Juliet lying in the church. Today let’s look at a scene in Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Hunger Games where the hero also misinterprets a situation. However, instead of a failed messenger, this scene begins with some good ol’ fashioned eavesdropping. Harry Potter eavesdrops on Professor Snape, while Katniss Everdeen eavesdrops on Peeta Mellark. Both heroes misinterpret the situation by assuming that Snape and Peeta are “bad guys.” Here are the four elements of this building-block scene. 1. The hero has a secret vantage point. The hero’s eavesdropping begins innocently enough– he just happens to be in a spot that he is not expected to be in. Notice the use of the word “horror” here, which emphasizes the hero’s surprise at what he sees. When no one answers Harry Potter’s knock on the door of the staff room, he decides to enter anyway and try to find his book. “He pushed the door ajar and peered inside — and a horrible scene met his eyes.” (HP Ch.11). When Katniss is hiding in a tree to sleep for the night, she hears voices approaching her tree on the ground below. “…to my horror, I hear the pack heading toward me. They do not know I’m here. How could they? And I’m well concealed in the clump of trees.” (HG Ch.11). 2. The hero sees a group of adversaries. While the hero is in his hiding spot, he sees not one, but a whole group of “bad guys” who are working together. Harry Potter observes Filch helping Snape with his injuries in the staffroom. “Snape was holding his robes above his […]

Source: Why Your Hero Should Eavesdrop and Make a Bad Assumption (in 4 steps) | Better Novel Project

8 thoughts on “Why Your Hero Should Eavesdrop and Make a Bad Assumption (in 4 steps) | Better Novel Project

      1. I didn’t think I had used this device much (or at all). But now that I think about it… While Tam is not the main hero in The Guitar Mancer, he is somewhat prone to making incorrect assumptions. Some guys never learn. LOL. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re right, there is always drama and tension that can be created from confused, or misunderstood messages. Pride and Prejudice, that template of romantic fiction, has the same set of missed messages, mix-ups and our heroine jumping to the wrong conclusion. Great advice 😉


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