1. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Is it mean to play mind games with the reader?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by captain kate, Aug 13, 2008.

    Because when I decided to split Freedom's Fall into two books, where I can simplify my work, I'm deliberately leaving a lot of questions about kate and her background unanswered.
    The reason? To make you want/need to read the prequel/sequel when it's written
     
  2. Last1Left
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    Last1Left Active Member

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    I guess it depends on the reader. I think there's a fine line though. You want answer enough questions to give a sense of resolution, but leave enough to have your reader hooked. It could easily develop into a love-hate relationship if you're not careful (like me watching the show Lost).
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    well some things are going to be answered, aka why she hates Ferini, and has a sour disposition with men-due to his raping her while she was a gladiator slave of his. However, the larger reasons the bad guys want her dead, beyond the fact that she interferes with their plans, and how they got into power to do what they are doing, will be answered in the prequel...
    along with how she got her bionics, etc
     
  4. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    Too many mind games can be annoying, I think. You want to toy with them just enough so that it doesn't grow frustrating. Just don't leave the reader in the dark too too much or else they'll probably just set the book down and forget about it. All questions and no answers get boring and tedious after a while for a reader.
     
  5. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Too many mind games are going to become confusing. A few is fine.
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It's okay to leave a reader wanting more, but only for so long, and a story should honestly contain all the information necessary to tell that particular story. Otherwise the reader might feel cheated. It's okay to leave information out for a while to tease readers into reading further chapters, but to do it just to get them to read another book, that seems like it might be stretching it. It's okay to not tell everything about a character if it doesn't relate to the current story but I wouldn't withhold stuff just to get people to read the sequel. Chances are strong they won't bother, if they feel the sequel will be as evasive as the first book was. Where do you draw the line in withholding info so people will read the next book?--at the third, or fourth, or fifth?

    (And this is coming from somebody who writes nothing BUT series books.)
     
  7. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    As long as you resolve everything in a faishon that makes sense you can play with my mind like it was your personal toy box. Then again you should see my anime collection. and i thought Rosencrantz and Guildesterne are dead was a great play and wonderful movie.

    God bless existentialism
     
  8. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Umm not telling me something (Unless it is really important to the story) is not a mind game, it is omitting stuff to not bog down the story line.

    Look at Harry Potter. Voldermort did not "flesh out" until the later books. H ewas the primary villain but his background was "Hidden" at least.

    Even Harry's background was a bit... vague.

    So, telling me only what I need to know right now, but not giving me the whole shebang, is not a mind game.
     
  9. Rawiya
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    Rawiya Member

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    I think that playing mind games with readers is great, so long as you don't overdo it. I can't quite remember the series or author, but I have them at home so I'll check; but anyways, one series I read had some pretty hefty books 500-600 pages and she would do cliff-hanger endings on each. It actually did get the the point where I got the the end of the last book and decided never to read her again.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Think of it like teasing a cat with something bright and dangly. Up to a point it's fun, and the cat will be amused and happy.

    But if you don't know when to stop, you'll find yourself with bright and burning claw marks down your arm.
     
  11. Rawiya
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    Rawiya Member

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    And to continue with Cogito's metaphor, if the cat doesn't catch the toy every once in a while, its going to walk away.
     
  12. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Yah... but that is dangling them along... (A whole different kind of Mind game) not what Kate is doing... which is leaving out the past... and leaving you to wonder about it (or not wonder about it...)
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Leaving unanswered questions is not what I would consider a mind game, but don't oversell them. Major questions that receive a lot of attention in your book should be resolved in a satisfactory manner, even is it's not a satisfying resolution.

    What do I mean by that? Consider The Empire Strikes Back. Several storylines were left in a very unpleasant state. Vader was stronger than ever, Luke lost an arm, Han Solo was encased in Carbonite, and the Empire had the upper hand. But Luke was back among the Rebels, the Rebellion was far from crushed, and no one was in imminent peril. New alliances were formed, and Luke was returning to his training. So the immediate issues were stabilized, even with many setbacks suffered.

    The same is true of the endings of each book in the Lord of the Rings series. Each of the five books (excluding the sixth and final book which ends at the Grey Havens) left the story with unresolved dangers looming, but still at major resolutions: arrival of the hobbits to the borders of Rivendell, the separation of the Fellowship into an eastbound and westbound groups, the brink of the war developing at Minas Tirith, the Ringbearer entering Mordor, and the last stand of The western forces outside the Black Gate. All natural stopping points but with leads to be picked up later.

    You have to be a bit more careful on an initial offering though, because you don't know if the subsequent volumes will, in fact, be published. You can leave leads to be picked up, but they cannot be as urgent as the examples above. The initial offering miust stand more solidly on its own in that case.

    The first Star Wars movie is like that. Even though the war itself was not won, the story could have been left with just that one installment, and no one would feel truly cheated.
     
  14. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Ditto...
     
  15. dazbizkit
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    It's best to leave some questions unanswered for the reader to want more, leave too many, it becomes tedious and some readers just become uninterested.

    One step forward, two steps back! So there's always a question to be answered. It's ok to keep hold of the big juicy important answers for a while, but introduce small questions every now and then but answer them quick. This'll help keep the reader occupied so they won't be gettin frustrated because the story feels like it's not flowing.

    I hope that makes sense!
     
  16. alias
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    alias Member

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    Has any one ever seen kung pow? Thats exactly what you DONT want to do, and i don't mean plot wise. Don't leave so much unanswered that a sequel is nesesary, only enough to make a sequel.
     

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