Wednesday, June 3

Secrets are Better than Any (...)

Posted by Shelly Holder

NOT revealing the answer to your readers might be the best thing you do as an author.

I know, sounds slightly contradictory right? Not giving the reader what they want? It goes against all the basic principles of consumer culture. But, I've realized this week, that secretly, it IS what the reader wants. They just don't know it. But YOU the author should.

I first was exposed to this idea when another writer/blogger (unfortunately I've forgotten who, but credit's all to you!) wrote an article on how writing well should be just like the Sesame Street book The Monster at the End of this Book. The character Grover does and says everything to stop you from turning the page, which of course has the opposite effect. And you can't wait to get to the end and discover who/what is the monster.

Holding back the details teases the reader with a mystery that they're dying to figure out, either by getting into the character's head or reading on. Either way, it's good. My favorite example of this is Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels. Basically from chapter one, the reader knows that Kate is hiding something about her heritage from the world. But Ms. Andrews also hides it from the readers. Book One gives you tantalizing hints, book two infers, and only in book three does she confirm. Which means, I'm absolutly dying for book four.

The same principle applies to TV shows. My favorite Bones has the murder mysteries in each episode, but it's the suspense of the ultimate hook-up between Booth and Bones that keeps us all going. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that there should be an ultimate hookup. I heard rumors that about Bones finale that it would happen, and you know what? I was disappointed. I didn't want them to end up together. They gave up something because of popular demand, and didn't stick with plot-line integrity. So, therefore, disappointment.

So holding back the details is more important, in my opinion, because it creates an investment in your book, your characters, your series, and you as an author. And really, having a fan base is what it's all about, right?

Right Now:
What I'm listening to: TV actually- What Not to Wear
What I want most: to go shopping, ehehe