Terminator 2 had a problem. The problem was that the plot relied heavily upon a major revelation mid-way through the film. The revelation?
- Background: In the first Terminator movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the villain sent to kill Sarah Connor (mother of John Connor, the eventual leader of the human race in the future battle versus the machines) and a human, played by Michael Biehn was sent to protect her.
- Setup: In Terminator 2, Swarzenegger’s Terminator character was sent back in time again, and another character, played by Robert Patrick, was sent back as well. Both characters are in a race to find John Connor, played by Eddie Furlong.
- The audience should assume that Schwartzenegger is the bad guy and Robert Patrick is the good guy until it’s revealed that Robert Patrick is not a human sent to protect John Connor, but rather an advanced cyborg sent to kill him, making Schwarzenegger’s original terminator the surprise hero this time around.
The problem is, that moment of suspense and awe was “spoiled” by the T2 trailers which gave away that Robert Patrick was actually an amorphous liquid metal killing machine.
The moment of suspense where Eddie Furlong is caught between the two cyborgs with the audience assuming Schwarzenegger is the villain was ruined by advertisers who wanted to show off their special effects.
I have a similar conundrum; the book I’m writing is the story of my own health scare. Real-time, I had a suspenseful experience as progressed through a series of specialists to find the actual cause. Again, spoiler alert; I had an undiagnosed heart condition requiring open-heart surgery to fix it. The “seizures” that my neurologist thought I was having were FAR more likely to Transient Ischemic Attacks (tiny strokes).
So my question;
- Do I title, market, and brand my book as a story about the long long winding road to heart diagnosis and surgery? (and “spoil” the surprize, but have a better chance to “niche” down to a specific type of patient; heart patients)
- Do I market it as a medical mystery and save the big reveal for the inside the book? (and potentially miss out on “niching” down that one last step?)