Books need secrets, too

“I think books should have secrets, like people do.”

—John Updike

Love this quote by American novelist John Updike.

Authors – take note! We readers do not need every plot point and character insight spelled out for us – a little mystery that allows us to interpret stories or character motivation is greatly appreciated by savvy readers.

Some of my recent reading disappointments have been authors who seem to be spoon feeding me their views, and intervening with a heavy hand, where I’m jolted out of the story and sense the voice of the author rather than those of the characters they have created.

This is always frustrating to me as a reader, since I want to lose myself in the story and its characters, and I don’t need over-explanation by the author.

In other words, authors – take John Updike’s advice and ensure your book has some secrets. Your readers will enjoy resolving those secrets by themselves, and a few loose ends or lingering doubts may leave your readers still thinking of your novel even after they’ve read the final chapter.

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