I recently read a book by a new author. All the predictors point to this book (which shall remain nameless) being the next big thing. The premise was relatively new and exciting. It’s a little Sci-Fi, a little Young Author, a little Romance, and some good political intrigue thrown in for fun. It was everything I like in a book and the exact audience I’m writing for.
However, I had a huge problem with this book. The author did some pretty obvious foreshadowing very early in the book. Blinking Neon Light foreshadowing. Additional clues were dropped regularly through the book. But the main character didn’t figure out until chapter 32 what the two of us figured in in chapter 2. I found this not only insulting, but extremely annoying. The author is not dumb. She is creative and organized. She has created an entire world and everything is logical and emotionally solvent. The main character is not dumb. And I did like the way that the author chose to enlighten the character to this information.
As in all things, I say “MODERATION”. Don’t treat your audience as if they are stupid and have to have everything explained to them. In the case of the book, another bit of information was explained TWICE. Of course, don’t leave everything for the audience to figure out either. Your audience is smarter than you think, but they’re not mind readers, either.