Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Revealing Scene

I've noticed a recurring theme throughout my work - I have a tendency to create a special scene in my novels to sit down and tell the reader how everything comes together.  I never set out at the beginning of a book to do this, but it always seems to happen.

In Salvation Day, there's a major scene where the main character has a conversation with God as He reveals the reasons for why the world is the way it is.  In Akeldama, I have a split scene where two different people in two different parts of the world simultaneously tell the story of why the vampire world exists.  In Wrongful Death, there's a scene where the main character is shown by a spirit guide why he's haunting the wrong person.

I think this is due to an OCD part of my personality that demands I tie the plot together and answer readers' questions as to why things are the way they are.  Thinking back, I don't think I have a single novel where I don't have a revelatory scene of some kind.  I have an innate desire for readers to "get it," and while I can advance the plot and develop the characters through subtlety and innuendo, I can't get across the purpose of the novel to readers that way.

Looking back at some of what I like to read, this isn't terribly uncommon.  JK Rowling had a great revelatory scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Dumbledore lets Harry in on everything that has been kept from him his whole life, just like Alan Dean Foster reveals the need for mankind's involvement in a galactic war in A Call To Arms.

As writers, we want our audience to know why they're reading what they are, so this is something we slip in.  Not every novel requires it - Tim Zahn, for example, spreads this out over several novels of The Thrawn Trilogy - but more do this than I realized until I started paying attention.  The key question for readers is whether they'd get the purpose without this.  I admit that I wonder about this sometimes...

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