hiding the whole picture
Writers have one of the most challenging jobs. Why? Because we see the whole picture and we have to keep parts of the picture hidden until we want the reader to know.
Case in point: I’m working on my new story today. (To be Held.) In this story, we have four doctors trapped in a bunker while they are being attacked. One of the doctors are unconscious for most of it, which brings it down to three. From that, I need every single one of these people thinking that the other one is to blame for this attack.
This is really easy. I know who is in the wrong, who knew about the attack, and who knows nothing. The problem is that the reader doesn’t know. The reader doesn’t know what has been going on, each of the person’s history, or why each one would distrust the other one.
Which means that I, as the writer, need to demonstrate this distrust in such a believable fashion, all the while setting it up so when the reader discovers the truth, they can look back and say that they should have seen in coming.
So tell me again why I like writing when it is this complicated?
It’s actually because it is this complicated that I like writing. And it’s when I get the breakthroughs, like one of them has a gun in his/her possession, and why one of them might distrust this rather nice doctor, that I write for.
So now, back to building up the suspicion.
Hi Abigail! Nice post–I completely understand what you mean. It’s hard to leave little clues for the reader without being really obvious, and I always worry I’m beating a dead horse when I weave stuff in, but on the other hand, as a reader I know I get really angry if there’s a sudden revelation in a story with nothing leading up to it. It’s like walking a tight-rope, both fun and extremely stressful all at the same time.