How Much Should I Reveal?

14 Apr

So it is a very busy writing month for me between the blog, Script Frenzy and editing my novel. I am all words all the time.

But writing for three different audiences is producing an “interesting” time for me. The biggest thing that I grapple with is  just how much I should reveal in a story.

When I blog, I try to keep it short and sweet. Since I don’t have a lot of time to spend reading pages and pages of other blogs, I figure someone else might appreciate it if I returned the favor.

For Script Frenzy, I am working on a new play. The best part of writing a play is the dialogue. I love creating snappy interactions between characters. And, unless there is a specific prop or a particular look that needs to happen on stage, I don’t get bogged down in those details. That’s why there is a director, a scenic designer, a costume designer, a sound designer and a prop mistress. It’s their job to handle all those little details.

But when it comes to my novel, I am all the aforementioned and then some. Since I come from a theatre background, dialogue is my strong suit. And, just like with the blogs, I don’t like to get smothered in the details of how someone is dressed, what the  curtains looked like or whether or not the tires on a car make a humming sound. I want to be in the middle of the action and hearing characters engage one another.  That’s why I don’t tend to write a lot of the other descriptive stuff in my novels. I set it up, give a feeling for what’s going on and then assume the reader will fill in the missing pieces for themselves.

Now, I have friends that think exactly as I do. They can see in their mind’s eye what the patrons at the restaurant look like or how that old wool sweater feels. They don’t want to have the author lay it out for them.

But, I also have friends that want to know every last detail right down to the speck of dust on the lamp. They want to know EXACTLY what I am seeing in my head so they can see it in theirs. So since I am editing my novel, thought I would pose the question: How Much Should I Reveal?

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2 Responses to “How Much Should I Reveal?”

  1. Deborah | The Monster in Your Closet April 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    That’s a hard question to answer! The best I can do is to tell you which group I fall into, which is to say, the former. I like filling in the blanks in ways that are most intriguing to me.

    As for how to approach that question as you go, I’d have to go with the contracts-appropriate: whatever feels right at the moment! Editing will help shuffle everything into what feels like just the right amount of detail to make the story right for you and fluid for (the highest number of interested) others.

    I don’t think I’ll ever feel quite so useful as I will when I press “post comment” here in a moment! 😉

    • redcurlgurl April 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

      It certainly is a fine line to walk. I am with you…filling in the blanks for what is most interesting to me makes the story seem richer. But my friends who want the tiny details say they feel cheated without the complete story. So I am trying to find that happy medium, but in the end, as you said, the greatest number interested will win out. :o)

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