A little mystery in your book is a good thing. Keeping your reader guessing, making them want to turn the pages – that’s great! As long as it’s intentional. It’s bad when you’ve got your reader guessing for all the wrong reasons. I call it “Foggy Writing.”
There are three things you want to establish at the beginning of a story.
- Who your main character is
-Where your main character is (Grounding)
- What your main character’s problem is
Today, I want to talk about Grounding. Have you ever started reading a book, got a picture of the scene in your head and then realized it was all wrong? You’ve read the first page, picturing the characters talking in say, a living room, and then about halfway through the second page the author finally tells you the characters are sitting in the front seat of a pickup truck. It jerks you out of the story, if only for a moment, as you mentally readjust the scene in your head.
As a writer, it’s important to ground your characters , to give your reader a clear starting point. In other words, don’t keep your reader guessing for all the wrong reasons.
Now, are there exceptions? Of course. Your character is wandering through a dark, shrouded cemetery, and you want it to come as a jolt to the reader when they finally realize it. That goes back to the intentional part of your writing. The scene is part of the setup.
But, don’t leave your reader out in the fog simply because you forgot to write a setting for your character!
Keep writing and rewriting,