Friday, September 25, 2009


I am currently writing a scene where the character discovers something, something important and crucial to the whole story beginning to end.

And I have a feeling that this element of my story will have to be written and rewritten, not to mention go through many, many betas because when the story is in your head, it is hard to figure out what is or isn't obvious to the reader.

I've decided that with this particular point of reader discovery, I've probably teetered either of two ways and it will take other people reading it and telling me which way I've tipped.

1) Either I've dropped way too many hints prior to the discovery, and the reader will plod through the rest of the story UNTIL the discovery, thinking, "It's sooooo obvious. The main character must be really daft to not figure this out until now."


2) I've not set the stage enough for the discovery, and when the main character reaches her discovery point, the reader will say, "Huh? I don't get it. How did she figure that out from A and B?"

It's an answer I won't really know until my manuscript is ready enough for me to brave somebody else reading it, a few somebody elses, who can tell me if it's "1" or "2", or if I'm really special (or if they are really lying) that I've nailed it.


  1. That's always the balance, somewhere between one and two. Have you given enough subtle hints that the reader doesn't go, where the heck did that come from.

    I can't wait to read it.

  2. This is why it's so great to have other people read our work. My beta readers were so helpful with stuff like that.

  3. Yep, know the feeling. I had something of a surprise twist in my book (in two of my books, actually) and I remember giving it to my betas and honestly not knowing whether it would totally work, or be a big flop.

    I think you have to drop a few hints. You know your story inside and out, but the reader won't, so the hints won't give it away like you think it might.

  4. You'll never know until your become brave enough either to let someone else read it, or to put it away for 2 weeks until you don't remember it word for word and see how it feels.

    Of course, I am usually not very patient (hate waiting) and chicken (dislike sharing too soon) so sometimes I just write the scene a couple of ways then move on with the story, planning to look at it again later.

  5. Patti-I've given hints that I think are subtle, but I will definitely need that beta reader to tell me if it works. ;)

    Natalie-Definitely, and I'm actually working on building up a critique group right now.

    Renee-Yes, I guess sometimes knowing your story inside and out isn't very helpful. Just goes to show that no writer can do it alone.

    Shelley-I have already plowed through the scene, but I think when I'm done with my draft, I will put it away for a couple of weeks...if I can stand it. I don't know, maybe I'll potty train my child or something...been putting that off.

  6. Or there's a number three, meaning you did it perfect! LOL
    Don't we all wish...
    Congrats on getting it down though. :-) Dropping more hints can be very easy, as well as shaving some off. Have fun!

  7. I have the same problem right now. I'm hoping my beta readers can tell me how I have done. It's crucial to get this part of the story right, isn't it?

  8. I'm right there with you. I have had this scene in my head from day one, but have yet to write it. I've told a couple of friends about the idea of the story, so I may have just blown having them as betas. Oh well. At the rate I'm going they will probably have forgotten by the time I send it to them!

  9. I guess there's always some who guess and some who don't. If I like the protagonist I can read mysteries as if they were thrillers, not even trying to keep track of all the clues, and being surprised at what the rest of the world guessed.

  10. David-I always guess but I guess wrong.


    Kasie-Well, this whole mess called my rough draft is far from perfect right now so I think we can still be friends.

  11. Psyched that I get to be one of the chosen few to help you figure it out! ;P

  12. I am very excited for my new crit group partners to read it...and maybe tell me just how much I don't make sense.:)