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17 Amazing Plot Elements... When You See #11, You'll Be Astounded!

17. in media res
Let's start in the middle of things, near the end. That would be where I'm climbing up this tree, not too high up, just high enough to find a thick, sturdy branch. Here I tie the rope. The other end has already been tied tightly around my throat. Secure in the belief that this will end me, I leap.
16. Verfremdungseffekt, i.e. the distancing effect
Let's destroy any illusion of a fourth wall, shall we? You don't know me. We have not met. From here on out I must break your understanding so you can reach understanding. It is my curse to outlive you unless you were/are/will be Jesus or Hitler.
15. Metaphor
He is the revolutionary Malcolm X. He is MLK galvanizing the people. I could call him Malcolm Luther but I find it disturbing in the same fashion as celebrity couple pairings such as Brangelina and Kimye. I'll call him Gill. I'm not Jesse Jackson, no Betty Shabazz. The past is the future and they both contain empires. Gill's is a struggle against one. My story is wrapped in his.
14. Backstory
Once there was an alien empire ruling us. We hate their foreign practices. They play with human lives. They pray to many gods. They practice slavery. They occupy. Gill rose from nothing to become the heart of the revolution. I was there every step of the way. As sicarii I've assassinated members of the alien elite, if not for him, then surely for the revolution.
13. Polysyndeton
There was magic in Gill, in his touch and in his eyes and in his words that fell like a soothing blanket over a crowd and there was magic for me, o me, who he showed impossibilities, the infinite design of how things were and how things may be.
12. Asyndeton
"Look at them," Gill said to me once as he looked over the assembled revelers, revolutionaries, rapscallions, rabble-rousers. "They love me the way a master loves his slaves, the way a man loves an orgasm, the way a hammer loves the nail, the way a merchant loves his future coin. " He turned to me. "I need more from you. I need you to kill me."
11. Narrative hook
These start at the very beginning, and if you paid attention to the title, you'll see that this narrative hook is no different. I am desperate for you to know my story. So I have to sell it like a salesman--keep you reading, keep you reading! I don't know if this astounds you. Being astounded is subjective and although I have been instilled with otherworldly insights I have no way to peer inside your mind.
10. Foreshadowing
I will not betray you again, lest you think less of me.
9. Hyperbole
"The fight with the alien empire is just one more fight in the endless tide of wars and battles," Gill said. "I want to transcend this fight, this planet, humanity, this universe. I want to be more than who I am now." His eyes are wider than bowls and gleaming like steak knives. "Let me show you."
8. Imagery
Through pungent incense and bitter roots and spiced drink and chanting words, he shows me his life, his death; my life, my death. I see things I shouldn't know, breaking through fourth walls, fifth dimensions, sixth senses. There is no seeing through sevens.
7. Rising action
The rope is not long enough to snap my neck as it goes taut. I kick and struggle as I dangle, choking. My vision tunnels, darkens. I think none of that future shit matters. None of the past neither. None of it's real. Only this is real and I swear, it feels so very final. I kick and flounder, hoping this thick branch snaps.
6. MacGuffin
He chases this thing, this object that he's never seen, never touched nor tasted, can't verify, yet feels he needs to advance his story. He calls it Transcendence. "How do you even know?" I asked, desperate. "You've seen what becomes of me. And for what? Do you even transcend?"
5. Poetic Justice
"I don't know," he says, smiling that disarming half grin as he looks out over our alien occupied homeland. "I'm only human."
4. Cliffhanger
That would be me, dangling from this rope, wondering as you wonder if I can sever the branch before it severs my ties to this world.
3. Red herring
This would be the term alien. Typically understood to mean "otherworldly," here it simply means "foreign." Let's not look too closely at the Romans, shall we?
2. Flash forward
In the future, ships will streak through the sky and travel through the heavens. We will once again discover faster-than-light travel. And people will still curse my name.
1. Understatement
I, Judas Iscariot, am hanging out.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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