I’m not a big fan of the cinema, but occasionally I’ll latch onto a movie and not turn it loose until I’ve wrung it dry of its secrets. I have to know why I like it so much; I want to know what makes it tick.
One such movie is High Fidelity, directed by Stephen Frears from Nick Hornby’s wonderful book and starring John Cusack in a world-class performance. I’ve studied that movie and learned some valuable things about plotting. One of the keys to this story is the use of surprise. This is where I learned how crucial surprise can be in fiction.
Hideous, terrible spoilers begin here for those who haven’t viewed the movie. Do as you like, but you’ve been warned.