1. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    How do you know when you have too many hints?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Milamber, Nov 4, 2007.

    How do you know what's right to put in your book. like say there is some big secret that isrevealed at the end, it would make you look like an idiot if everyone knew about it since the 50ieth page, just because you put one too many hints in there.
    Since the writer generaly knows all the secrets behind the story how does he/she take on the reader's perspective and see what is just too obvious to put in. I meen i've added little bits here and there that point at the final conclusion. but what if there is just too many, how do you know??

    Harper:)
     
  2. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Common sense, and perhaps not giving too many hints :p
    I had a similar issue, but I found that my hints were insufficient for any sane mind to comprehend, because:
    (a) They were indirect.
    (b) They were just a couple.
    I had a plan to disclose that political people were after some kids. I used this MAJOR hint that the villain of the novel blackmails the hero into something we aren't told. And at his death-bed the hero says the villain's FIRST name, which isn't disclosed in the novel yet! And after a long waiting, when they are so sure something is wrong, the villain's daughter upon hearing the hero's last words, discloses the fact that the villain has something to tell. So yeah, we learn that the villain was blackmailing the hero about not telling on him to political people if he did something for her! Now, unless you had read this chunk of text, I don't think any sane mind could guess it.
    Then, just give small hints. As if someone is hiding something, but you can't tell what. There should not be narrow possibilities of what the person is hiding, but wide. Don't show that your character must be hiding something related to magic if he is. Make it seem something small or something not clear enough. I don't know any books which efficiently did this, but The Alchemist was a great novel in which Paul Coelho was able to show a great twist. Nothing to do with secrets - but how we were composed from that truth, was simply unimaginable! So, let yourself use your imagination. Check the connection with your hints and secret. E.g., if the secret was 'Daniel killed Laura', then:
    Hints: Knife in Daniel's hand, red hands, untouched about death, interested about property distribution issues.
    Hints: Daniel was the first to report death, brother of Laura, promised to meet her the night she died [ but died before meeting, as shown ], had Laura's handkerchief.
    Both reveal this, but which reveals less? (Considering that all characters involved will have suspicion points). A way to unroll a secret may be to show the secret, but then at the same time, make it be found that it's a fake...until the time comes. Bah, I'm done suggesting. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    yeh... i supose i should just cut down on the hints. it's not realy in the actual quality of the hints themselves. just the quantity that might get the reader thinking unwanted thoughts.
    more like a jigsaw puzle, where you put a hint here, one over there another over there. but when does it stop being random pieces of a puzle and start being a picture? that's what i find hardto know, because i already see the whole picture.
     
  4. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Hmmm...well that wasn't a problem for me because my novel was set in the contemporary world and based on realism. I could easily draw the line between out-of-this-world stuff and normal day-to-day lives stuff. Let me make an assumption that the secret is that Demon X was actually an Angel, spying on them.
    Hints which would be safe to play along:
    -X's unnatural not wanting to see angels
    -Familiar with angels
    -Being in the military of demons
    -no biodata as such
    Hints which aren't so good:
    -not willing to hurt angels (which is true, but you shouldn't show reluctance. Maybe he doesn't kill angels, he just pretends but you can't tell? As 3rd POV, I presume)
    -lyrical voice like angels (probably using some magic to hide that)
    -fake horns, and says he lost them somewhere
    -meets angels and tells them about the days happenings

    I don't know how i can help any further, because I'm not really for this genre, so I'll leave others to take care of this.
     
  5. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    Thanks for the help :)
     
  6. crashbang
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    crashbang Active Member

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    you could put anti-hints, so that the reader thinks somethings gunna happen that dosnt, or use double meaning
     
  7. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    It's more information. not realy events. like i might be revealing too much of the plot wen they all get together and have group discussions.
    Or maybe my characters are just too smart for their own good :)
     
  8. Aether
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    Aether Member

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    3 year olds

    You know there's too many hints when you give the story to a 3 year old and they figure it out... nah just kidding... or am I?

    Too many hints equals stoopid (purposely done)
    Give the story to someone you know who doesn't know anything about it, let them read it and give you details about it. If you find any comments consistent with what you're looking for change it, but if you don't leave it how it is. (do not tell the person what to look for!)
     
  9. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    Yeh that's what i was planning on doing. :) wen i'm done with riting it.
     
  10. Koosha
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    Koosha New Member

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    I was going to suggest what Aether did, more or less. Have them read only about half the story though, and then ask them to infer what would happen at the end. If they know, you know you've given too many hints.

    And I suggest you give it to a relatively bright friend. If you give it to a friend that isn't the brightest lightbulb in the box and they don't guess it, you still don't know whether or not it was too many hints.
     
  11. Milamber
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    Milamber Member

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    Ok then. sounds easy enough. i'll do that :)
     

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