Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to meet award winning YA author Sherri L Smith. My sons seventh grade class had just finished reading Flygirl and were privileged enough to hear her speak about the book and her writing journey.
I found Sherri to be relaxed and someone you could easily grab a cup of coffee with and talk writing as if you were old friends. Her career started very differently than most authors experience. She was lucky enough to work Tim Burton and a handful of other talented artists in California before choosing to write YA novels.
I loved her ease around the students and the way she engaged them with questions. Even when they asked her to explain certain parts of the book she'd left for the reader to determine, she graciously spun the question back to them and asked, "What do you think happened?"
I love that, and I write with the idea that not all things need explained by the author, some are better left for the reader to conclude on their own, whatever that conclusion might be. Which brings me to today's question—When writing a novel how do you decide what is okay to leave for the readers assumption and what needs to be spelled out?
As a writer we all have critique partners, and in my experience, they all pull different things from my work. Some love a piece, while others question it. Some understand a paragraph or chapter while others are left wanting an explanation. So when you get a piece back that has contradicting reviews from your CPs, how do you decide whose advice to take? Do you go with your gut and leave it at that, or should you seek more opinions? In my experience, too many people in my head causes that much more trouble, questions, problems. What's your advice?