Friends, I have a problem.
It’s called Hoarding Plot-Reveal-Secrets Syndrome.
Okay, so this is a name I made up. But whatever it is, I HAVE IT.
Let me explain.
When I’m writing a story, I have to set things up in the story before I can get to the major plot points.
Then the beginning gets longer than I planned, because I’m
a disaster longwinded.
And I also have this strange thing where I ALWAYS HOARD SECRETS.
- If there’s a big reveal about a certain character? = Hoard it.
- If there’s a plot twist? = Hoard it.
- If there’s a villain doing things THAT WE SHOULD KNOW STRAIGHT OFF but it’s “too early” to reveal? = Hoard it.
This results in the unfortunate tendency for nothing interesting to happen in the novel for huuuge stretches of time, as I throw in tiny hints toward said hoarded plot-reveal secrets but don’t actually put any of them in until way later in the book.
Because I’m saving them for later. *cough*
But this means that I DON’T INTRODUCE VITAL PLOT PIECES EARLY ON BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO “SPECIAL” TO PUT IN YET.
I don’t even know, guys. I’m a mess.
(It doesn’t help that sometimes, if I’m discovering a story as I go, and don’t have it all plotted when I start, I don’t even know the big plot points until I discover them when the heroes do…)
It’s not just one book, or anything. I’ve noticed this multiple times in my writing. It adds up to a repeated problem.
Enter Hoarding Plot-Reveal-Secrets Syndrome.
It would be like if in The Lord of the Rings, they don’t find out what the One Ring is actually for until, like, Lothlorien.
It kills me that I can’t offer specifics about my own stories to help explain this, because… spoilers. But let me be vague for you and pick one story as an example…
I’m currently writing KW2, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood. (Oh, great, there’s a secret in the TITLE. And guess what, it doesn’t get revealed until HALFWAY INTO PART THREE. I’m not even there yet. I’m even hoarding plot points from myself. Joy.)
I’m currently writing Part 2 (I always split my novels into three parts — no idea why, it just works that way so I can have bite-sized pieces).
Unfortunately, the “setup” on this novel has taken so long, that Part 1 is currently 63,522 words.
THAT’S RIGHT, THE FIRST “THIRD” OF THIS BOOK IS CURRENTLY THE SIZE OF SOME NOVELS.
I need help.
There’s a character I’m going to introduce who’s going to be hugely important to the plot, and may even steal the show from Tare (*universe stands still while audience squints and asks “IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?”*) and I keep putting off introducing said character. And I keep having the villains beat about the bush instead of doing THINGS. And the heroes are always trying to figure out the mysteries but they keep juuuust eluding them.
One of the problems with this… er… problem is that if the PLOT doesn’t start until halfway through the book or later, then… what is going on to start with? It’s kind of like the description on the back of a book, making you interested without “giving things away”.
While we’re on the subject, what is my summary for this book going to look like? O_O
The Secret of Kedran’s Wood by Yours Truly
In which Tare and the Chess Club do things and discover SHOCKING, EXCITING THINGS (No, really. They’re awesome.) but those are in the final third sooo we’re not going to talk about them here on the back of the book because #secrets and BECAUSE YOU NEED TO READ 100K WORDS OF RAMBLING FIRST THANKS.
Not to mention, it’s awkward when you can’t tell anybody the reason why your story is cool. Because it’s spoilers.
Or is it?
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR STORY WITHOUT RUINING THE SURPRISE.
Y’know, I should just accept that the Kedran’s Wood series is getting longwinded and episodic and should just become a serialized book-equivalent of a TV show. Yeah. Let’s do that…
But that doesn’t solve the plot-reveal-hoarding issue for my other works.
Basically, IT’S STARTING TO BE A PROBLEM. And I have NaNo coming up and don’t want to do this to… whatever it is that I’m going to write for NaNo. (Which, incidentally, I haven’t decided yet. I’m doing it, but picking a novel? SO HARD. *cough*)
So, does anyone else have this hoarding-plot-reveal-secrets problem?
And, more importantly, WHAT IS THE CURE? O_O
I don’t want the stories to be drawn out and lack plot-reveals until the final few chapters, but howww do I sprinkle them in?
How do I stop feeling like I’m “spoiling” the story by actually, you know, revealing what’s going on every now and then?
How do I stop hoarding the juiciest bits and cackling about how I’ll get to reveal them …someday?
How do I know what I can and can’t reveal about the plot or the sequels or whatever?