You've got a situation. Charles used an intruder in the house, mum and dad home and playing happy families while the baddy skulks from room to room. Great stuff.
You've left clues for the reader. But are they enough?
I never know. I've gone wrong in both directions. I once wrote a murder mystery with one suspect (what I call a Scooby Doo), and another where the clues were so subtle it looked like the murder's big reveal came out of nowhere.
Way I see it, it's up to the readers. Starting with me.
I'm in the home stretch on the current novel and still discovering what happens. It's fun. Later, I'll go through with a notepad and a big blue sketching pencil and read the thing for myself. Lots 'n lots 'n lots of stuff will come out or change. It's how I work, and I'm happy with it.
But one thing that always kind of amuses me on that first read-through is seeing the clues I subconsciously planted early on, before I even knew what I was cluing about. More clues also go in, or get amplified and clarified.
Then the Tiny Dynamo usually gets it. She's a tough reader, fair but demanding. If she's confused in the reading, I make a note, go back and amplify. If she sees my surprise coming a mile (excuse me, 1.6 kilometers here) off, I go back and obscure. Poor sausage, she never gets to see the work at its best.
Except the last book (Poison Door). I didn't want to even try doing a Big Reveal of the villain. I wanted him right out front in Chapter One. There were still heaps of little clues for the various reveals throughout the book, but the big showdown at the end was never in doubt. The Dynamo dragged her feet with her first reading, but after a couple pass-throughs myself, I was sure I was onto something and started querying.
Agent Anne suggested some changes. Good ones. I rewrote (those clues, further refined), and Anne called it good. By the time the Dynamo read this one, it was already out on submission.
One unintended benefit: The Tiny Dynamo now thinks my plotting is much improved.
'Tokyo: A Biography' (2016). Earthquakes and Crow Goblins - *Stephen Mansfield, Tokyo: A Biography. Disasters, Destruction and Renewal: The Story of an Indomitable City (Tokyo: Tuttle, 2016). Pictured above is the ...
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