Insecure Writer's Support Group, brainchild of über blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click on the link for a complete list of participants.
I was on Goodreads the other day, checking out the reviews of Marie Lu's new book, Prodigy, when I came across one that contained a sentence that has stuck with me days later. That sentence was:
"I felt like Marie Lu was purposefully keeping secrets from me just to string me along."
And that got me thinking (so no, that smell wasn't your house on
fire...) because I purposefully keep secrets in my writing. I'm
attempting to write a fantasy series that, in theory, will contain six
novels when finished, so I don't want to dump out all the bells and
whistles in the first book. Instead I want to plant seeds; I want to
create an air of mystery or something along those lines. Maybe I do just
want to string my readers along—I don't know if that's the exact way to put it—but I personally love that moment when
I'm reading a book and something sticks out as being odd (or incomplete
or whatever), but later on in that book—or maybe its sequel—the author
reveals something that makes me go "Oh snap!"
Do you do that too? Maybe you say something less dated than "Oh snap!" I
don't know what you exclaim. Maybe you don't exclaim anything; it
doesn't really matter. What matters is that because the author kept a
secret from you, your mind is later blown by the awesomeness of some big
reveal. It's a punch that might have been lacking had you been given
the complete playbook early on.
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that the person whose comment
inspired this post is wrong. Everyone is entitled to feel however they
want about the books they read. I'm just offering my opinion. And I'm
pro secret keeping. You know, in case I wasn't clear about that.
I always start off giving an author the benefit of the doubt, that
picking up on some small deviation—or maybe some incomplete
information—isn't necessarily a sign that someone didn't do their due
editing diligence (say that five times fast) or got lazy on the world
building side of life. Sometimes that does turn out to be the case, but
more often than not, I find it leads to something cool.
And I can only hope that when (if?) people read my novel, they end up feeling that way too.
But enough rambling from me. Let's talk about you. Are you a secret
keeper in your stories? Do you love it or hate it in the books you read? And has anyone
else had Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew in their heads since reading
that 'secret keeper' sentence, or am I just the biggest dork in the
Not that I couldn't be the biggest dork in the world anyway.
Happy writing, all.