Use a Preview Scene

Another way to lay groundwork is to have a small preview scene where some form of the actual events of the coming set-piece are set up—a small duel or clash anticipating the big duel or clash. There's an instance of this in The Empire Strikes Back, which I discussed in the previous chapter: Luke has a laser-sword fight with an apparition of Darth Vader conjured in an evil cave (a fight Luke loses because he wins). Those few seconds are setup for the actual duel enacted in several distinct stages near the movie's conclusion. In that later duel, Luke loses but escapes defeat by casting himself into the unknown rather than allow himself to despair and surrender—a reverse mirror of the earlier fight where victory paradoxically meant defeat. Here, defeat leads to Luke's coming to terms with the truth, that Vader's his father: the pivotal insight which powers the trilogy's eventual and cli mactic reconciliation between them in Return of the Jedi.

If your set-piece is going to hinge on the fact that your protagonist has lost his glasses, show them being lost (and eventually found) a time or two beforehand. It will provide foreshadowing as well as make the important loss of the glasses, in the set-piece, entirely believable and convincing.

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