Paul: If you haven't already done so, read up on a concept called the "unreliable narrator". Here's a link that discusses it (unreliable narrator) --even includes a reference to And Then There Were None. (It's in the "Literature" folder.)
BUT . . . I know a lot of things I have never told you.
Just cos the char or MC knows it, doesn't auto follow they will disclose it. They may even know it and not realise they know it or that others are seeking this particular information.
Having said that, some answer here is in how 'you wanna treat your readers'.
Do you want them to wrack their brains, match wits with you, maybe Ellory Queen style?
OR, perhaps you want to entertain your readers as opposed to challenge, as above.
Once you sort that out, b4 you start, much of the formular could be prewritten, so to speak.
Challenges require cluews you can PROVE at the end. On page 94 The MC said 'xyz' which should lead him all the way back to ABC and FED and that should cause them to reorder the info/data in line with the proper order they ought to have worked out by now. THINGS like that.
With the entertain, you do have to show and prove you put in all the clues, at the climax, you tell and show them how it can be construed to lead to this one, possibly obscure conclusion. Hoping the readers will go "I like the way he worked all that stuff in, I had no idea but I can NOW it all makes perfect sense, the way he explains it.
I can't read mysteries and work them out. I have to simply struggle to the end page and go "Ogh yeah, well that is interesting and maybe makes sense, I wonder how many people worked that out?" So I certainly couldn't write anything of that nature, I just don't understand how.
My chosen style is reveal, more or less, as you go. I am here to entertain the reader with Act/Adv. I am yet to have mass feedback to tell me if it is working, good, bad or indiffetent.
Simba mentions "get inside somebody's head" The chars or Authirs really.
Perhaps if you have read the previous ten books you have an insight into how the writer generally thinks and that may aid you in working out the clues in 11. It may not, especially if you are as thick as two short planks as I am.
Challenge or Entertain?
Entertain or Challenge?
OR scare the beegeebers outa them, or baffle them with BS?
The choice is yours, the world is your oyster, get under its skin!
Makes sense. I used an omniscient but mostly objective narrator for my first draft.
(I didn't even know what those terms meant at the time.) The writing failed to engage
readers emotionally. The second draft is being written in multiple-third-person close,
mostly from one character's POV. The results are better.
I love drilling around the tropes site you linked. I've lost hours there on multiple occasions,
just counting how many of the tropes I'd included unconsciously in my novel. I view this as
mostly a good thing.
The unreliable narrator - perfect reminder. But Agatha Christie committed a no-no with hers,
and I remember hitting that as a reader.
At one point we hear the character's thoughts, expressing surprise and shock at finding a body.
But in the end, that character was the murderer.
Thanks, both of you.
Challenge or entertain:
Originally Posted by Herman Munster
My goal is to do both. The reader can decide.
If he or she wants to try to solve the mystery before the MC does,
the clues are all there. I've been scrupulous about playing fair.
But if the reader just wants to take the ride along with the MC,
that works too. The MC's thoughts and realizations are revealed along the way,
not saved until the end.
Scare the bejeebers out of them:
Of course all of the above assumes I can get the writing strong enough
to actually entertain and scare.
Thanks for your detailed thoughts, Herman.