Wednesday, February 10, 2016
I was reading a kids book, Destiny, Rewritten, and just sort of starting to like it when we hit a crossroads. A book of poems in this book suddenly became essentially important, holding key information that had already been teased out to us for several pages. Then a Goodwill truck came in the story to pick up some old clothes, and my brain, of its own volition, said "That Goodwill man better not take that book!"
The Goodwill man took the book.
I said "No!" and stopped reading.
I'll admit I can be quite a fickle reader that way.
But still, if a reader can see a specific calamity coming, largely on the basis of knowing it would serve a plot need, and starve us of information, and keep us reading, there are only two graceful ways for the author to go.
1. Not have it happen.
We breathe a sigh of relief and learn that our author is generous. Generous! Instead of saying "I've only got a couple of things to give out so you'd better pay attention", the author says "I've got ideas and wonders galore, and I'm going to be handing them out all book long."
2. Have it happen, but have it happen so differently that it's all turned on its head.
In this approach the reader says "Oh no!" and frets and worries, but then it finally happens and the reader says "Wait, that's not actually bad. What I've been fearing turns out to be a rescue!" This demonstrates that the author is not manipulating, rather they are working on a deeper level.
Theoretically, having closed this book so precipitously, Destiny, Rewritten could have been attempting to partake of path number two. But
1. As I said, I am a fickle reader.
2. I don't believe it, that's what they all say, and
3. I am trying to break myself of the habit of finishing books just to prove to myself that I don't like them.
Of course, the author could be using a mysterious third approach in this narrative situation. Though I know everything, I forget all of it all of the time. After all, the book is even called Destiny, Rewritten, implying a novel reworking of the fates. I'd hate to miss out on this author's clever solution to this ancient narrative device. I'll just go take another look at the book and give it one more little chance.
Unless, oh no!
Someone accidentally returned it to the library!