Allow the reader to have an active role

Short post this morning as eager to write. But this is something I say all the time in my critiquing: reading is active, like learning. If you tell the reader everything you don’t leave them room to think, second guess, wonder, be surprised. Always consider your reader.

This is where using body language in action and reaction is important. Showing the scene allows the reader to see, wonder, think. Comment on everything by telling your reader Susie is lying and there’s no room for the reader to think.

In the same way, if you tie up all the loose ends in a plot and spell it all out with the ending, you don’t leave thinking time. The ending of While No One Was Watching was the part we dissected and reworked and gave the greatest thought to. In one version everything is spelled out. I still have it; in Rosa’s voice when we go back to 1963 and at some point I might develop this and think about publishing it. But the reason I chose to do it the way I did was to mirror elements of the ambiguity in who killed Kennedy. Sometimes you want to leave the reader to wonder. BUT, and this is the important bit, don’t make it too ambiguous you don’t want to leave the reader dissatisfied. There’s an art to saying just the right amount; not too much, not too little. I hope I achieved it. God knows it was discussed enough. So the ‘knockers’ and there are barely any, who wanted it all neatly sewn up, one day I might release something that does. But the answer is there. And most people realise why it was done that way.

That is all. Have a great day everyone!


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