I’m studying narrative drive for a series of Story Grid articles and podcast episodes. Narrative drive has to do with how much information a reader has in relation to the characters in a book.
As writers, we want to blurt out our entire story in the first chapter, but that doesn’t work. It doesn’t ring true because in life, people withhold information.
If you don’t believe me, observe the people around you. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying. Pay attention to how you behave with the people around you. There might be one person with whom you share every intimate thought, but you certainly don’t do that with everyone you meet. And everyone you meet doesn’t want to know every one of your intimate thoughts.
It’s the information we don’t have that makes us curious to find out more.