Monday, June 9, 2014

Big Reveals



Hey all, sorry  for the problem with comments earlier today. I think I have it fixed now. Thanks for your patience. Now, on to the post.


There are times when the author can raise tension by holding information back. There are also times when the author holds something back for the sake of holding it back. The author gives hints and says things such as ‘I wouldn’t think about that now’. It gets old and the reader figures it out. If this is the case, when the author finally gets to the Big Reveal the reader is bored. The book has lost momentum because the author was continually holding back, never moving us forward.  

I've seen an increasing amount of this recently and it's a little disturbing. The author doesn't need to shove everything into the story at once. Information should be given when it is pertinent. That could mean up front, or it could mean later in the story. But, the reader shouldn’t be kept in the dark if everyone else in the story knows. It creates a lack of trust between the reader, the book, and the author. And if the only tension or build up the author has is these kind of reveals, then there really isn’t much going for the book. 

It would be much better to create a forward moving story, focused on the events of the literary present, rather than the past. While the past does affect the present in novels (and in life) we shouldn’t be hung up on it. Keep the story moving forward. Don’t hold us back.  

Have you seen much of this?  What do you think?

15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Yeah! I'm with you on the Big Reveal when the author keeps only the reader in the dark. There *has* to be one POV character to experience it with, or it's a dirty trick!

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  3. I know what you mean, and I've seen it too. Often I write in present tense which doesn't allow for this sort of thing.

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  4. Yes, that's definitely not good. I've had to learn in my own writing not to stretch things out too much and be boring. Not good, like you point out.

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  5. Well put, Sara. I've seen this too and it's so annoying. Even more so than in movies. Glad you've put it to air.

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  6. Great post, Sara. I seem to enjoy a story that has a few "secrets" that are later revealed. But to leave the reader too much in the dark, has definitely become a bit of a fad.

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  7. Yhea I can see your post!
    I hate feeling that I have outsmarted the writer. Then again if you do it too quickly it might be just as anti climatic.

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  8. I haven't seen much of this, but then I've mainly been reading classics etc.

    However I do agree that one shouldn't do the big reveal at the cost of letting the reader feel left out.

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  9. You know, as long as the MC is in suspense along with you, I'm totally good with that convention. If the reader is the only one in the dark, then that's just mean. =)

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  10. I'm with you. Withheld knowledge is important for characters. They need to discover it. If someone knows something, they should share what they know, but it never hurts for them to know only a part of the whole and build on that. :)

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  11. YES! Secrets are great for developing suspense, but not if it gets to the point where the reader is screaming out for the author to just get to the point. If dragged for too long, the big reveal fizzles.

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  12. Yes. Exactly. It's much better to let the reader know what's going on and keep the characters in the dark.

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  13. Yep, I see it a lot as well. And it definitely impacts the pacing... and everything else about the story for that matter.

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  14. It's SUCH a balance of revealing the right amount of answers at the right time… I agree. My biggest problem is when I read a book, I can see exactly what the author is doing… which only means I'm not into the book at all!

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  15. I agree with you! Luckily haven't seen too much of this. It would bother me a lot, especially if the book was supposed to be in deep 3rd pov.

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