Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.
Kathryn Stockett does a wonderful thing in her book that I greatly appreciate. She understands the reader is able to figure out that 2+2=4.
Through Minnie, I am introduced to her new employer, Celia. Minnie thinks she is strange. My sister tells me that Celia is her favorite character in the entire movie. I stop her! Don’t tell me. The book hasn’t said too much about her, but I like her too. She wants to know what I do know.
Seriously, it’s all spelled out from here. If you haven’t read it and don’t want to know about it, stop reading here. ^.^ Last warning. =)
Minnie says she’s the laziest white woman she has ever seen. She lays in bed all day. Sneaks up to the 3rd floor where the empty kids’ room are. Wants a tree torn down which leaves reminds her of a baby’s hair.
My sister wants to know what I think it means.
I think she wants kids, but can’t have them. But, she’s pregnant now and trying to save the baby, so she’s on bed rest.
“I said don’t tell me!”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“You said everything.”
The point? I’m grateful that Kathryn didn’t feel the need to spell out this fact the moment Celia stepped on to the scene. She tells us enough from what Minnie sees to let us figure it out on our own and we’re satisfied with our own conclusion until she says it point-blank. (“if”…I’m still reading, so I can’t say for sure she will)
It reminds me of one of my editors thoughts on my Chapter 1 of my novel, Enough for Four. He asked, “I know Ava’s bi, but is Lily? I know she’s there to date Ava, but she is also really turned on by Carson. If she is bi, you may want to mention that directly.”
I stare blankly at him. Finally, my voice returns, “A person is romantically attracted to both a male and female. Isn’t that the definition of ‘bi’?”
“Yes, – but,”
“No, ‘but’s. You figured it out. The rest of the world will, too.”
The funny thing is, I do mention it directly…a few pages over. But at the point Lily first steps on the scene, I trust the reader knows that 3+3=?
(You can read the first Chapter of Enough for Four here: http://wp.me/p2sDTP-47
Or, you can listen to it here: http://wp.me/p2sDTP-5I )
PS – For writers: This will lead to a blog I’ve been meaning to write about comparing the difference between letting the details come out naturally vs being too vague (cryptic) and losing a reader’s interest.