Without giving an info dump, you want to introduce as many things about the plot as possible in the first quarter or so of the story. The rest of the story should be about how these elements interact.
I’ve read several stories that introduce something crucial in the second half. My reaction is always something along the lines of “If this is so important, why didn’t you mention it before?”
Withholding the identity of the murderer until the end is commendable. Introducing an entirely new character to be the murderer at the end is not.
This isn’t to say you can’t introduce any new elements at all late in the story. For example, I have a story where one of the major characters is introduced more than half way through. She is introduced as a replacement for one of the other characters, singled out as the best match by a large corporation. The character she replaces and the company are introduced much earlier. Her introduction springs from two plot elements already in place, doing the things they would naturally do.
Everything late in the story has to come from something early in the story. Introducing something completely new that doesn’t emerge from an old element leaves a bad taste in the readers’ mouths.
Oh yes, the importance of proper introduction, or foreshadowing. When this fails the new elements are like coming from nowhere, just random, making the reader lose any trust in the story.
I guess a major reason for such poor writing is that people make their stories “on the fly”, maybe they’ve even already uploaded or published the first part before they actually figured out how to continue. Others may simply not understand the importance of proper foreshadowing. Or, a combination of both. :-/
Why do I reblog and comment on this? Because this is a major element I’m struggling with right now. Like forever I have now been talking about starting a webcomic, it’s several months now, but I realized the importance of having the whole story-line sketched out even before beginning drawing, let alone uploading.
And because it’s really good advice about something many people seem to forget, ignore or just not think about.