[[this is a repost]]
I say this all the time:
The narrative parts of the story aren’t platforms for the author to step on stage and explain or reveal things to the reader.
Yet people reading my writing – critique partners and first / second / even third readers – will say that they’ve read ‘so far’ into the story and still don’t know what’s going to happen at the end. Well, the reader isn’t going to know what’s going to happen at the end by page five because the main character doesn’t know what’s going to happen at the end until she gets there. The way I write, the reader doesn’t know anything that the main character doesn’t know – if she doesn’t know it, tough. The reader may figure it out before the main character, and that’s cool. But I’m not going to drop point of view just to point something out for what I consider ‘lazy readers’.
It’s right up there along with:
Forecasting. “If I’d known then that before the end of the day, the goat would have eaten my hat and my Great-Aunt Hattie would never speak again, I would have worn the blue shirt instead.” This cheats the reader of the pleasure of finding out what happened.
Emphasis on that last sentence is entirely mine. I’m mean. I figure if my readers aren’t smart enough to figure stuff out on their own, they don’t need to be reading my writing. The writing I read growing up, I had to figure stuff out on my own. I had to learn to think and then put those skills to work. It seems like writers / people in general these days don’t do that so much – either they don’t know how or weren’t taught how or weren’t taught how properly. Or something. It’s aggravating.
My point is, I refuse to drop information into my readers’ laps just because they expect that information to be there. I refuse to spoon feed anything to anybody. Doing so is lazy writing. It never hurt anybody to have to sit down and figure something out for himself.
I know a number of people won’t read things where they have to figure things out on their own. If that’s the case, these people just won’t be reading my writing. And they probably won’t be reading a score of other writers, either.
[[Quotes from Nalo Hopkinson: About Writing: Things Fall Apart.]]