The audiobook I’m listening too had a major curveball that was interesting. The female murder victim turned out to be transgender which very few people knew. That twist came during the trial, and could provide the missing motive to why her boyfriend could have murdered her in the book’s plot. That’s all fine and didn’t bother me.
What does bug me is when the character exposition turned into blatant lecturing. I’m not even sensitive on these topics. If I don’t like something, I just move onto something else. There’s plenty of choices out there. But this twist worked for me in this story since it upped the stakes, and the author had laid down some clues that suddenly made sense. But I got jerked hard out of the story by the blatant lecturing in the murder victims exposition (the timeline switches between the present and the past, and that parts skillfully done). It makes me sad. Sometimes as authors, we forget the story itself is powerful enough, and we are actually weaking the power of the story when we insert our own voice, beliefs and or agendas. Let the characters tell their story and trust their story is enough.
Then step off and let readers choose if they want to go along for the story’s ride or not. Some will, some won’t. That’s how it works. And that’s how it should work in my view. Readers get to choose what they want to read. But if we write a powerful enough story without that lecturing, maybe we will give our characters a chance to add something to the conversation of life, and give readers an opportunity to see something from another point of view. It’s happened to me many times.
For sure, the method in this book doesn’t work for me. It seriously irritates me.
I’m finishing the story because I’m still hooked by the story question of did the well like, nice guy high school hocky star kill his girlfriend or not? Plus the author is developing interesting characters and her writing is engaging except for this one thing that slips through in the exposition/lecturing.
A couple decades ago, I was reading a fiction and was too far in when I realized it involved showing the opposite side of something I believed. By then I was hooked and devoured the entire book. There was no lecturing. Rather, this was a powerful story that helped me see that issue in a broader way. I don’t remember the title, but I’ve remembered the story and the two main characters for more than two decades. That’s pretty danged impressive. That fictional book had an impact on my views and has stayed with me for a very long time. It didn’t necessarily change my opinion but it’s helped me understand how the issue affects all people, not just me.
That’s powerful. And yet not once did the author disguised as the character lecture. She was living her life in the timeline of that book, and I was experiencing it with her. For those few hours, it felt like I had a friend who lived a different life than mine, and I was learning from her without even realizing it.
That is the power of story! Let’s keep our author voice’s out of it and let the characters’ voices do their job!