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Withholding Information

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.

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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