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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tactics. Misdirection

Magicians do it. Storytellers do it. Movies and TV shows plaster it across the screens.

The word today is misdirection, distracting the reader or viewer from the truth that is right in front of them. 

Pickpockets love this human blind spot.

While I am not a fan of magicians—go figure. I write about wizards and mages—their ability to misdirect is genius. I like knowing their secrets just as I enjoy how the special effects department pulls off the Jurassic Park T-rex and the lightning in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s.

A recent episode of The Walking Dead totally blew my mind. It employed a version of misdirection that caused a breathy ahh to slip out. It seemed clear. Backstory explained...or so I thought. A previous episode left me thinking I knew what was happening. It was emotional. Heartbreaking. But I didn’t know until the last few scenes that what I took for reality was not
so. The director, actors, scriptwriters, led me to the edge then pulled the curtain from the truth.


In my youth, Arthur C. Clarke gave me a sci-fi example of misdirection and molded my appreciation for the genre. In The Star, space travelers from Earth come upon a world blown apart, burned to a crisp by an exploding star. But what you think is truth might not be so.

Do you have other examples of misdirection that blew your mind? Share. And read The Star. Seriously, it is amazing.


Tyrean Martinson said...

Misdirection can definitely be a powerful tool in storytelling.

Charity Bradford said...

I love Arthur C Clarke. This is the first time I've read this short story. Lovely and chilling all at once. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Misdirection is a skill I'm trying to perfect in my current wip. :)

dolorah said...

Wow, the last line in the story does have that "ahhh" effect. I should have known - but yes, I was distracted by the voice, the sorrow, of the narrator.

Loved the video too. How did he change his shirt in front of everyone? Marvelous.

Liz A. said...

The trick is to make us think we know everything when we don't. I'm in awe when it's done well.