Just get on with it.
I’m reading a book now for pleasure. (Yes, I still do that in addition to all the other stuff I read for work.) I won’t mention the title or the author, but I will tell you it’s categorized as a thriller.
Right up front we know one of the 4 POV characters has a secret. (Let me digress for a second and say I don’t love the fact the book has 4 POV characters. Who am I suppose to get attached to?) The author mentions repeatedly this character, a girl – age seventeen, has a secret, but the author doesn’t tell us what it is.
She wants us to wonder and keep turning the pages. Honestly, the fact that she keeps mentioning this big secret, but won’t give us a hint (though it’s in photo form now so we know someone else is going to get their hands on it) just annoys me. Say it once. Character Number One has a secret. Then be on with it. Author doesn’t have to keep hinting. It’s like kids on a play ground, “I have a secret and I’m not telling you.” At which point I want to shut the book.
Yes, you have to create suspense if the secret is somehow connected to the arc of the story. But I like books that hit the ground running and don’t slow down. This book also gets bogged down in the beginning with a lot of setting. It’s a very nice setting and one I might even want to visit some day, but I’d rather learn about the secret or what led up to this horrible thing hanging over Character Number One’s head. Because once she’s faced with the fact her secret is out she’s going to be forced to make a decision. One hopefully, she doesn’t like. Now we have conflict! And the race is on.
Since I can’t turn off my editor brain while I read, I often say out loud, “Get on with it.” Give me something new. And I don’t think having multiple POV characters is the answer to something new. I see what the Author is trying to do. Each character has a secret and I guess we’re supposed to keep turning the pages until someone’s secret blows up.
Honestly, I don’t care enough. I want action. I want characters shoved into making choices between two evils. I want to see how they respond under pressure.
I want you to get on with it.