Writing Tip #9 The Big Reveal

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This is the ninth of 12 posts for writers who are planning to self-publish using the great services now available to the amateur writer, such as Smashwords, Amazon KDP, CreateSpace etc.

These mistakes are straight from week1 of “Good Writing 101”. You might get away with one or two of them; maybe people won’t notice. But if you consistently break these rules better not give up your day job.

9. The Big Explanation at the End

Remember all those Agatha Christie mysteries where Hercule Poirot gathered all the suspects together and ran through the clues that led him to the final unmasking of the guilty party? Well the world of fiction has moved on. My editor tells me that nowadays all explanations must be revealed within the action.

BEFORE EDIT

“But what I don’t understand, Gray Cloud, is how the medicine man knew where to find the Vince Lombardi trophy.”

Gray Cloud sat by the fire and crossed his legs. “We must assume that Billy-Bob Wilder gave him the information. Remember when the two of them were incarcerated together for a week by Lucy, the preacher’s mad daughter? Rutting Bison shared his pipe with Billy-Bob. It seems the pipe was primed with hallucinogens that loosened Billy-Bob’s tongue.”

“Rutting Bison must have known that the drugs were hidden inside,” I mused.

“I don’t think so,” said Gray Cloud, shaking out his dream catcher. “The medicine man had nothing but disdain for modern drugs, and no interest in money. I think you’ll find all his actions were driven by the purest of motives.”

“Including the murders?” I threw him a look of total incredulity.

“You’ll understand when you’re older, son,” he said. “It’s a Native American thing.”

AFTER EDIT

“Come out with your hands up,” I shouted. “And bring the trophy with you.”

The medicine man appeared at the entrance to the hogan, and threw the precious Vince Lombardi trophy in a hail Mary pass high over Gray Cloud’s head. I ran and caught it before it hit the rocks.

As Gray Cloud handcuffed him I asked the medicine man, “Who told you where the trophy was hidden?”

“That fool, Billy-Bob Wilder was happy to tell me after sharing my happy pipe,” said Rutting Bison with a scowl. “The paleface nearly lost his mind when Lucy, the preacher’s mad daughter, locked the two of us up for a week with no food or water.”

“Of course your spirit creature protected you,” muttered Gray Cloud. “But tell the kid how you knew the drugs were inside the trophy.”

“Drugs?” the medicine man snorted. “If you think that was what I was after you are even more foolish than I thought, Gray Cloud. Everything I did I did for the tribe.”

“Including the murders?” I said, incredulous.

“You’re too young to understand,” said Gray Cloud. “It’s a Native American thing.”

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