“Hiding” Versus “Deceiving”…..

“Writers read” is more or less a mantra, although I have to admit, how and what I read has changed since I started writing. I don’t mean changed as in when I was younger and absolutely devoured Victoria Holt, had my stretch of Louis L’amour (really), and the classic science fiction novels that gave way to other interests. I look at books differently now simply because I understand more about the mechanics of character and plot development. In knowing more about how books get onto the best seller lists also means I realize being a “best seller” doesn’t mean the book is something I’ll like. I actually tend to steer clear of them until I get a personal recommendation from someone I trust.

Anyway, I finished a book the other day that was one of these dual-time ones, although there was only a 20ish year gap as a daughter was attempting to learn about the tragic death of her parents. The earlier parts were told from the view of her deceased mother. A number of twists were of course revealed along the way with the “big one” coming in the next to the last chapter. I was sort of on the fence as to whether I was enjoying the story, but wanted to see how everything played out. Now comes my annoyance with the way the “big twist” was crafted. In setting one up, an author has a couple of standard choices. Information is completely withheld from the reader or only hinted at. The other is for a character to “think” or “say” things to the reader that are false until the “truth” comes out. In this case, that was the method chosen as the character of the mother repeatedly described angst over a tragedy from her teen years while knowing full well what had actually happened. Don’t get me wrong, it was consistent for the character to lie in dialog with other characters. It was her “internal” dialog that was unnecessarily deceptive. There was another I stopped reading a while back for something similar.Hubby says I’m becoming nit-picking and there could be an element of that.

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