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Trailers - how much plot to reveal?

teamVASIMR

Plasma Rocket
How much of the plot should be revealed in a trailer?

Obviously there should be enough to give the reader an idea of what the story is about, and hopefully draw him/her in.

Typical trailers have tidbits of important events, and some quotes.

But then again, the trailer should not be full of spoilers.

With movies, it is possible to play well-timed clips out of context to show actual, important action without revealing why exactly that action is significant.

But fanfic is a written medium. I think it is difficult to extract a pivotal scene for a trailer without either revealing too much or confusing the reader by lack of context. The scene could be edited to make its significance ambiguous, but then it would be... ambiguous.

(I suppose this could be called "teamVASIMR needs help translating from the visual to the verbal")
 
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Gelatino95

Not a tool
Don't reveal any of the plot. Just put in some parts that may be part of the plot, but are unrecognizable by themselves. In fact, red herrings are a plus. Check out the link at the bottom of my sig for an example.
 
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Psychic

Really and truly
With movies, it is possible to play well-timed clips out of context to show actual, important action without revealing why exactly that action is significant.

But fanfic is a written medium. I think it is difficult to extract a pivotal scene for a trailer without either revealing too much or confusing the reader by lack of context. The scene could be edited to make its significance ambiguous, but then it would be... ambiguous.
I would disagree! Your writing can act as a camera lens; you choose what to show your readers by focusing on what to or not to describe. The same way, for instance, the trainer for The Avengers shows explosions on a city street without actually showing the cause of said destruction, so can you describe any kind of action or reaction without specifying the cause. The idea is that the scene you do show is gripping and what you don't show gets readers guessing.

Anyhow, I think the amount of the plot you want to reveal really depends. If readers would be more likely to be attracted to your plot and read the fic because of your plot, then why not reveal a bit of it if it'll get you some readers? I'll go back to an Avengers example - there are enough fans of the previous Marvel superhero movies that they'll want to see the Avengers, no matter what the plot is. But to advertise a drama film, people might not be inclined to see it until they have some idea of what it's about.

It depends who the audience is. If the audience is one that intends to see your movie/read your fic no matter what, then make it a real teaser that will excite them. If the audience has no idea who you are or what your movie/fic might be like, give them a reason to get excited, such as "my idea is original, and this is what it is." Either way, I wouldn't stress out too much about a trailer, as I'm not sure how many readers actually use it to decide what to read. A preview thread may get slightly more attention, however. Just a thought. :>

~Psychic
 

Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
Think of all the movie trailers you've seen. How many of them interested you? Why did they interest you? Which of them didn't appeal to you? Why? You have to think of the elements a trailer uses to attract the attention of a specific audience.

In fact, if you wish, you can use a trailer to "trick" an audience member to think it's for this demographic, and while it may be, the movie actually has elements that go beyond its demographic. There are a lot of kids movies out there that are advertised as for kids, but the movie actually is filled with dark elements. Think of The Brave Little Toaster and The Land Before Time trailers. They're advertised as being light-hearted movies for kids, but when you look into it, you realize they carefully stepped around the really, really dark elements on purpose so they could attract the audience they really wanted.

Also, if you notice in these trailers, they do have bits of what the plot may be, even the voice-over tells you what it's about, but they don't give them away. If anything, it's for suspense, and wants you to wonder what has happened.

It's your trailer, you do what you think is right. It'll appeal to someone. It just takes the right editing to make it successful on the advertising market, no matter if the story is good or bad.
 
I just took some lines from my characters that really had nothing to do with the plot.
 

M-Dub

Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω ᾿Αχιλῆος
If anything, the written medium gives you more control than the visual, if only because you can show exactly what you want to show without having to worry too much about accidentally revealing things. For example, a tense moment in your fic/movie might have someone screaming and railing against somebody who betrayed them. In a movie, the shot might have been filmed with the recipient of said rant in frame, looking shocked, and your fanfic might have described that too. However, in the trailer, you can simply show the person doing the ranting and excise all mentions of the other party, leaving the audience to wonder who's being yelled at. As well as that, creating visual images can be more effective too, because when you present a description, you force your readers to think about it and draw up the image from their own imagination, rather than just showing it to them, which removes a level of interactivity from the trailer. As it is, I reckon text-form trailers are definitely workable. I made one myself for Champion Game a while back, and it was great fun and had some good feedback.
 
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