is it okay when writing a story to begin w/ things that won't make sense until you keep reading down the road? ?
For example in the beginning, one of the main characters goes back to her hometown to visit family and runs into an old high school friend who asks about "Jane Doe" and the main character avoids the question as much as she can so nothing is spoken about the woman but "Jane Doe" is actually the antagonist of the story and won't be revealed until later on.
- Zac ZLv 73 weeks agoFavorite Answer
As Anonymous said, that is done fairly often.
Personally, I would say that you should be careful not to make your story too opaque because that might lose you readers that won't stick around until the point where it does make sense. One example is "Gardens of the Moon", the first book of the fantasy series "Malazan Book of the Fallen". This is seen as one of the best series around but that first book is hard to get through because most readers say that they didn't have much of a clue what was going on. The book is much better upon a reread but there are quite a few readers that turn away from the series because of that unlucky entry point.
It's a different matter if you add seemingly inconsequential details that don't get too much in the way of the reading experience, that maybe might give the reader a short pause but not for too long, and have these details take on significance later on.
Actually, I'd say that it'd be really good if you can pull this off!
- bluebellbkkLv 73 weeks ago
Here's a hint. Whenever you start to type a question about writing, and find yourself asking, "Is it OK to ... ?" just STOP.There are no Novel Police who'll come knocking at your door at 3 am because you changed POV, or called your main character Frederica instead of Francesca, or used italics instead of quotation marks.
There is ONE rule that you mustn't break. It says, "Do not bore your reader".
As long as you're not boring your readers, you can do whatever you choose.Whether you'll manage to do it skilfully and effectively is a totally separate question.
- DavidLv 73 weeks ago
I wouldn't dwell too much on what wouldn't seem relevant to the reader. But by all means, introduce characters who will be important later on.
- Anonymous3 weeks ago
Yes. I can think of many stories do that kind of thing.
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- AndrewLv 73 weeks ago
If you do that I'll report you to the Writing Guild and your writing privileges will be revoked and you'll also have to spend 8 days in a pillory.