If vs How Tension
Does the drama come from whether the conflict is resolved or how the conflict is resolved?
One of the fundamental principles of storymaking is deciding how to balance where the tension comes from; if the characters resolve a conflict, or showing how they do so. If the story leans towards showing if, there will be more secrecy in the plot leading up to the reveal of its aspects. With a focus on how, the story will allow more of the plot points to be known and focus on the process of reaching them. This can apply to any story in any size, even movie trailers - in fact, If vs How is a primary reason for the existence of Trailers Always Spoil, since in such trailers If is disregarded to show a taste of the How of the story. This also applies to spoilers psychologically- regardless of how a story is set up, it can become a how story if the plot is sufficiently known before hand. Listed below are tropes that, if present, strongly indicate that the plot is one of the two types. If Plot Tropes:
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Since we don't know what the plan is, we can only watch it be carried out and see IF it works.
- Mystery Fiction: The audience does not know, barring Genre Savvy, IF the mystery will be solved.
Hello, Unkown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.
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