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Posted on June 3, 2014

I just wrote a chapter where the characters do a lot of speculating about the nature of their enemy and its motives. I think having the characters ask the questions that are on the minds of the reader is a vital part of moving a plot forward. The delicate matter with doing this is if you go too far, you might have the characters voice too much of the real plot thread that you know is coming. It might telegraph too much. I have to reread the scene again to see if I've done that. I don't want to reveal too much, but I also never liked in Lost how the characters didn't stop to ask questions or think along lines of inquiry to make sense of all the mayhem and twists they were enduring.

Hopefully, the scene I am putting together will feel realistic. To me, being thrust in an incredible situation with such high stakes would bring out the speculating side of anyone's personality.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014...
Yes, this is a vital part of storytelling and one that gets my goat when done poorly. I remember a book I read where the main character kept putting off explaining things to her secondary characters, actually saying, "Let's not do this now. There's too much on my mind. Let's talk later, okay?" to the point that the book was three-quarters done before they actually "had the conversation." So in all that time, the other characters just went along for the ride without a clue what was going on. Ridiculous and annoying.

I understand what you mean about explaining too much, though. One thing I like to do is throw out red herrings — actually suggest things I know are NOT part of the plot, just to get readers wondering. Hey, it's realistic to go off on the wrong train of thought before you know all the facts, right? I think it works as long as you make it clear that this is pure conjecture and not a bona fide explanation of what is actually happening.
Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014...
And sometimes its nice to have them be somewhat right and when the final reveal is done their notion is so much bigger and grander in scope.

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