Plot Avalanche YKTTW Discussion

Plot Avalanche
In the final Act, resolutions occur at breakneck speed, successfully concluding all threads.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-06 09:36:31 sponsor: Lomerell (last reply: 2015-03-27 05:15:03)

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A Script Speak trope:

You've got Four Lines, All Waiting, a Gambit Pileup and a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. Too much is happening for a single Reveal to solve. You might dread being Left Hanging or for a Kudzu Plot to descend into Sequelitis, but for once, the writer has actually thought of everything and manages to conclude all Plot Threads in rapid succession.

That's a Plot Avalanche: It resolves the majority of plot points. Any Sequel Hooks are clearly distinct from the main plot. Once the dust settles, there's nothing left for the audience to wonder.

It's a Wham Episode or third act at breakneck speed, or The Climax on steroids. Expect multiple Reveals and UnReveals. Chekhov's Armoury alone doesn't constitute a Plot Avalanche unless revelations occur in rapid succession.

Doesn't apply to a Grand Finale unless ALL Myth Arcs are resolved. Only applies to a Final Season if it clearly was planned from the very beginning. Can apply to the climax of a single episode with a complex plot structure.

The polar opposite of Arc Fatigue and Gainax Endings. Also contrast: The Chris Carter Effect, Kudzu Plot.

Sister trope to Cosmic Deadline.

Named for Brandon Sanderson, whose ability to bring myriad gambits to generally satisfying conclusions in a very small space became known as the "Sanderson Avalanche."

WARNING: Because this is an Ending Trope, expect many spoilers.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • In the penultimate chapter of Watchmen, many minor characters return, and whatever storylines they had come to a head, only to get massacred by the beginning of the final chapter.


  • Memento, which shows the main plot chronologically backwards and a subplot/backstory chronologically moving forwards. As the pace of revelation increases, both lines meet at the film's conclusion.
  • Fight Club deals for a long time with mundane (but increasing) problems of the protagonist: Insomnia, depression, isolation. Just before The Reveal, tension and pace reach new heights.

  • Brandon Sanderson, the trope namer, has several. Most notably:
  • Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. Multiple mysteries and gambits are introduced throughout; all are solved in the span of a few chapters.
  • In the Michael Slade novel Ghoul, it seems like there couldn't possibly be time to resolve the simultaneous manhunts for the three killers -- a psycho, a bomber, and a hitman -- who've been plaguing Vancouver and London, not to mention the interwoven thread of the mysterious Saxon Hyde. Then a Plot Avalanche is unleashed that brings all these subplots to a head with The Reveal that they're all different personalities of the same very sick man.

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[[folder:Video Games]] [[/folder]]
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