Way back when, when I was a small pixie sitting on a blue couch in the basement, my sister and I watched Pooh’s Great Adventure: the Search for Christopher Robin.
This memory was recalled when my sister and I recently sat down on a semi-blueish-butit’sactuallygray couch and watched it again for old time’s sake.
And I was zapped back to when I was a kid.
That movie was CREEPY. A frightening monster called the Skullasaurus had kidnapped Christopher Robin and taken him to a scary and forbidding place called Skull.
As a little kid I was ready. All along the journey the Skullasaurus chased Pooh and his friends, but we never saw it. I was ready for the daring rescue as they would take on the monster to rescue Christopher Robin!
The anticipation built and built to the moment when we would finally see the monster and –
It was Pooh’s stomach growling, and Christopher Robin had actually just gone to school.
As a kid, I totally missed the moral message that sometimes our anxiety makes things bigger and scarier than they actually are.
I didn’t put that together because I was a 4 year old. All I knew was that I never got to see a scary monster or a daring rescue or anything.
I was let down.
So the lesson of this is, when you write a story DON’T LET YOUR READERS DOWN.
You have to deliver. If you promise that there is a terrible secret, it better actually be a terrible secret. If you promise it will be dangerous and people may die, people better die. If you promise magicians and magic tricks, there better be magicians and magic tricks.
A promise is hinting or mentioning things. If you give any indication that something is going to happen, it has to happen.
OR, you give red herrings. But the thing about red herrings is the truth has to be better than the lie. The truth has to be more juicy. If the red herring is that the neighbor committed the murder, it better be the wife that committed the murder, not some other random fellow.