Hi everyone. Just to let you know this is my first post, and just a feeler for general feelings. I'm currently doing a story treatment for a young adult adventure novel with pirates and mysterious objects. I guess my main question is: what are people's thoughts on the need for a long-running secret in the story, i.e. something that will make the reader read 'til the end to find out what it is? Is it vital? Are good characters and the promise of action enough? I've just read a book in which the lead character has a mysterious stone. You know it's mysterious, but you don't find out exactly why until the end. That is the kind of thing I mean. (If there's a generic term for this then I'd love to know what it is.) I could reveal what are the mysterious secrets towards the beginning, like Gandalf explaining the One Ring to Frodo, but will that detract from the mystery? I use LotR as an example as my story does not have a general, end-of-the-world-style peril. There is danger and peril, and a quest to be fulfilled, but it's not the whole world that is at stake. In my experience, young adult adventure fiction is not the place to rely entirely on the characters to attract and encourage readers, so I am keen to keep some secrets to reward the readers. If anyone else has experienced a similar dilemma, or if you have an opinion as a reader, I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have.