My short story is coming along well and I'm really enjoying what I'm putting down. I've never written a mystery before, at least not in the traditional sense. The Paladin does have some mystery elements to it, but it's most certainly about the action, the adventure, and of course the Urban Fantasy.
So this short story I'm working on I'm actually pretty knee-deep in at the moment and I'm trying to figure out where I want to go with this. I know what the end is and I know what's going to happen, but how do I present it to the reader. My (admittedly limited) research has brought me two different approaches to portraying a mystery. I'm sure there's actual nomenclature, but since I'm not in the mystery community, I'll be referring to these as narrative reveal and big reveal.
So the big reveal is what I've found in more classic mysteries, like the Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot stuff. The reader gets to see everything the detective does, but they aren't privy to the detective's thought process. That allows them to try to solve the mystery on their own, formulate their own theories, and then check it against the detective during the "big reveal."
The narrative reveal is when you move along with the protagonist, learning what they learn, and also get to see what they're thinking. In the big reveal, there are lots of red herrings that can pop up, but in the narrative reveal, it's like a curtain slowly being pulled back. The detective can discard information that's not pertinent, formulate multiple hypothesis, and then, generally, when the detective knows the answer, you do, too.
So which one is better? I feel like the narrative reveal is filled with a steady flow of little surprises while the big reveal is all moving toward one big surprise. Here's the quandary: which do I go with?
For any mystery readers out there, which do you prefer? I'm still not certain and I need to figure it out fast.
Be Excellent to Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.