Plots, characters, and even MacGuffins need a solid foundation of answered ‘why’s’ beneath them without bogging the story down in exposition. A few clues sprinkled amongst the scene or dialogue should do the trick.
Beginnings abound with unanswered questions, big questions. Too many little mysteries overwhelm a reader who needs some solid terrain to enjoy the tale within.
Plot twists, how to answer them? Try two answers, the red herring and the real McCoy.
Ideally the answers come shortly after the reader’s begun to wonder. With a minute detail, an observation by a character, or a slip of the tongue from the villain’s inept minion; a reader can connect the dots alongside the protagonist. I enjoy those Holmesian moments when I’ve piece together little clues along the way before the hero exclaims, ‘eureka’.
As I ponder my plots, the Evil Overlord List comes to mind. Here’s a link:
I’d never want to present a plot, trap, or scheme, a five year old could unravel. Readers, moviegoers, and regular couch potatoes like myself should expect either a solid plot from a serious effort or a punchline. Maybe not so much from TV, but really; if the BBC can keep Dr. Who relevant, exciting, lovable, and alive after all these decades, surely there’s hope for the rest of the wasteland.