1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    471
    Location:
    Los Angeles

    would you feel cheated?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by erebh, Oct 4, 2013.

    I'm writing a short story about a little boy who gets into trouble with his ma - it's about 3-4000 words and hopefully will be a funny, at least humorous slant from the boy's POV. Would you feel cheated if you never actually find out what he did wrong?
     
  2. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,839
    Likes Received:
    4,981
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    No, not if his transgression wasn't the point of the story. Who hasn't done the same thing, just relating anecdotes about their childhoods to their friends? "I remember when I was a kid and my mom was mad at me for some reason - I don't remember why - and then she said ..." Etc. If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.
     
    Trish likes this.
  3. Trish

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I agree with Minstrel.
     
  4. Macaberz

    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    298
    Location:
    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    Not cheated no, but I probably would feel curious or just slightly disappointed. Why? Because from what you're telling me, his wrongdoing is the driving force behind the story, to not dissolve the tension of 'what' he did would probably leave me slightly disapponted. Then again, if the story spirals away from his wrongdoing and his trangression becomes less and less prevalent throughout the narrative, then I would have no issue with not-knowing at all. To me, it boils down to having a closed vs an open ending, I prefer the former, but the latter (when done well) has more impact.
     
  5. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    471
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Yeah I was hoping to keep the reader curious all the way through but then not even realise they don't find out what the boy actually did
     
  6. Macaberz

    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    298
    Location:
    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    @erebh I'd be very interested in reading it actually, how are you planning to release it? (what platform/format?)
     
  7. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,953
    Likes Received:
    2,066
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    MacGuffins need not be tangible.
     
  8. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    471
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    @Macarberz I'll email it to you if you like - on Word :)
     
  9. ManOrAstroMan

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    351
    Location:
    Missouri
    i dont think i would feel cheated, especially if the story was humorous, and there were all sorts of twisty hints dropped that really got the reader wondering. just think of the "spaghetti incident" from the calvin & hobbes cartoons. nobody knows what it was, but it must've really been something, because no one's supposed to talk about it.
     
  10. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    can't tell without reading it... is it meant for young readers?... if so, what age range?... and where do you intend to submit it?
     
  11. peachalulu

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,849
    Likes Received:
    2,414
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    For me it depends. If it all hangs on a twist ending ( i.e. the writer playing the reader ) it feels a little manufactured - a nice jolt but rather
    hallow. But if the story is more focused on reactions to what he did, than the ending of not telling would be more natural, less forced.
     
  12. afinemess

    afinemess Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    10
    I agree with peachalulu. Depends on how it ends. I'd be annoyed with a cliff hanger type ending, teasing the reader about it kind of thing. But if the story comes together and is interesting without ever needing to tell it, then I think it could work great!
     
  13. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I agree with Maia -- hard to say without reading it. I suspect it's probably okay, but whether it would bother me would depend on a lot of factors, such as whether the MC knows, how important it seems to the story, whether the punishment seems so severe that it makes you wonder what on earth warranted it, etc.
     
  14. Mikewritesfic

    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    Without reading it, I'd say that chances are I would feel cheated. Much depends on the plot and the style of writing though.
     
  15. Dawnless Sky

    Dawnless Sky Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Canada
    It depends. If you do build up the reader's curiosity by hinting at it then probably yes. Don't be a tease :p
    If you don't however and the tension is built up around the conversation then nah... we don't need to know.
     
  16. wolfenburg

    wolfenburg Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    At least hint at something maybe, then leave it up to the interpretation of the reader. In my experience interpretation is always more fulfilling that the answer. Kind of how the scariest movies never show the monster.
     
  17. DeathandGrim

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    It'd be fun to leave subtle hints around the story if ya like
     
  18. erebh

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    471
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    [quote="chicagoliz, post: 1153071, member: 38553" ...whether the punishment seems so severe that it makes you wonder what on earth warranted it, etc.[/quote]

    That's my whole point, if you enjoyed the story but saw yourself as a naughty schoolboy or your little son with his horribly guilty but Angelic innocent blushing cheeks and wide eyes with his pockets turned out and the carpet full of frogs and matches would you feel cheated if you never found out what he actually did or would you just think, ha that was funny... wonder what he did... smiley face! - If of course you got to chuckle throughout...
     
  19. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I just don't know the answer for certain without reading it. I could very well imagine myself thinking throughout the story, "okay, but what did he do?" and then being annoyed if I didn't find out. But I can also see it is possible to read it, and as you say, chuckle throughout, and not need to know.

    I wish I could be more helpful.
     
  20. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    2,562
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    @erebh: This thread almost reminds me of the gyrations I sometimes went through to get out of doing an assignment in school. Having trouble deciding what he actually did wrong?:D
     

Share This Page