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Story Cheats

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

So I’m reading a book right now that I was saving as a reward for finishing Road, and it’s a pretty good book. Not so great that I feel the need to carry it around with me wherever I go (like in the car) so I can finish it, the real test of STORY, but a good read.

Imagine my surprise when the author CHEATED half way through the book.

While I don’t exactly adore the heroine, I was interested in the story and her voice. When suddenly, in a little paragraph at the end of a scene, the author stepped into the story (never a good thing to remind me of the author while I’m reading) and inserted someone else’s POV. This person had no other POV scenes in the story. The only purpose of adding this ONE paragraph was to drop a hint for me, the reader, who’s obviously going to be too stupid to pick up on it when this shoe will supposedly drop.

I hate story cheats.

Another author who’s very popular once cheated me and to this day, I haven’t read anything else of hers. One little lie hidden from the reader, only to make the climax “pop” when in fact, it was fireworks of anger going off in my head. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if the entire story hadn’t been written in first person. But if I’m supposed to trust the narrator and fall in love with her voice, and then find out in the last chapter that she supposedly “noticed” something as soon as the car pulled up yet never gave any clue in her thoughts? I just don’t buy it. It’s a cheat, and it ticks me off.

Or how about a romantic suspense with a serial killer, and a token little scene is thrown in half way through the story, in some nobody, innocuous character’s POV, all to send off alarm bells in my head that they’re talking to the KILLER. *dun dun dun!!* Stuff like that drives me nuts!

Give me clues, absolutely. I love red herrings and deliberate Sixth Sense clues, but don’t trick me. Don’t lie to me. Don’t cheat me.

What about you: have you been cheated by a story?

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