Give me mystery

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Everyone says the most important element in a book is conflict but for me it’s mystery. I’m not saying conflict isn’t important without it a book would be very boring. However what gets my juices following is not knowing what is going to happen. Every book I read I try to guess how the book will end. I am extremely disappointed if I either guess it very quickly or my ending turns out to be better that the original one. If I’m wrong and it’s better then it’s a great book.

I remember vividly reading Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, it was before the film and before J.K Rowling was super famous, so I didn’t know the ending. I remember thinking oh it’s going to be like a lot of kids books the baddy is blinding obvious, Snape, but I was enjoying the book so I carried on. I do remember the shock when it turned out to be Quirrell, I had to put the down and say wow, out loud like on a bad film. I was single at the time so none witnessed my cliché moment. I would appreciate if you didn’t spread it around.

I recently read and reviewed Divinity by James Harrington, not a bad book all-round but I could see the ending coming like an express train. It was a good ending but predictable. In fairness I’m not sure how else it could have ended.

I’m trying to make sure my book isn’t going to predictable but I hadn’t realised how hard it is. The ending has to make sense you can’t just introduce something never mention until the last few pages. I have to drop enough clues so the reader will say ‘oh now I see.’ My secret fear is the first review I get will say –saw the ending coming so far away I got eye strain – probably be James Harrington after what I just said about his ending!

 

Picture is my step-son I had to pay a £3 modelling fee then his brother demanded his agents cut.

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31 thoughts on “Give me mystery

  1. Don’t be afraid to go with the obvious ending. I’ve told some of my other writer friends this, just because an ending is predictable, doesn’t mean its disappointing. Sometimes it’s better to live up to what people are expecting rather than constantly trying to throw them for a loop. Some of the best stories out there… and I am far too humble to say that mine was anywhere near that… leave you satisfied and that’s in part because the story went exactly where it should go or where the reader wanted it to.

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  2. I agree with your love of mystery. I like being surprised by the ending. Some times it doesn’t have to be too surprising I just done want to always see things a mile off. I relate to your struggles of dropping hints without being obvious. I’ve been working on a murder mystery and that in some ways adds to the difficulty. Creating believable red herrings, maybe a few that aren’t believable, the real culprit making an appearance but not too much but not too little before the big reveal. It is a nightmare, particularly now as I’m told my culprit while mentioned more than once needs to be mentioned more.

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      1. I didn’t think yours was based on the starting scenes you posted. If I had to guess I would say you are working on a type of fantasy. Did you end up picking a start or are you still debating?

        Anyway, you are right that murder mystery is not easy. You can’t have your investigator stupid, so you can’t make it easy. You have to allude without alluding, you have to keep the pace going and drop clues at the right pace. Nightmare really, but that is the direction my muse went in and thus I follow.

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  3. I have told you before, Eric.. you worry too much. 🙂
    Just write.. the rest will fall in place later.. don’t worry so much about unseen events, about portents and what might happen eventually – just write..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that the mystery of a book is really powerful tool. One piece of advice that I received in regards to getting a solid amount of foreshadowing without giving away your story is to ask your beta readers how they think the book is going to end at different intervals of the reading process. If everyone guesses the ending after the second chapter then it is either too predictable or the foreshadowing was heavy handed. If they read the whole thing and say that it came out of nowhere (in a bad way) then you might need to add more foreshadowing in during revision. Both problems are fairly easy to correct through trial and error, so by the end of the revision process you should know exactly where your readers are generally putting the pieces together.

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      1. I am not even where to find the overall comments stats. I am in a rush. I know if Itoy with it I would find it but I am rushed and brainfried. The simple stuff in insights has all time posts, views, visitors and likes. I do not even know where all time likes are but I had 208 yesterday.

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