Subtle Hints in the Narrative
by Kathryn Sparrow
I love it when authors put subtle hints in the narrative. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say I love it when there is a subtle hint that I pick up on. Sometimes, I’ll notice something that seems like an odd detail to highlight, but later, as I’m reading, it becomes clear.
When this is done well, clarity comes at the exact moment the author wants and not before. I love that!
You’ll have to let me know how I did with subtle hints in Devil’s Bargain because I tried to put them there. The story starts off like a contemporary, but it’s a paranormal fantasy so that alone gives the reader some hint that all may not be what it seems. If I’ve done my job well, then all those little hints will lead up to the reveals as they happen.
As a writer, I want to know if people saw the hints I left and if I made them too bold and obvious. My critique partners were able to help with this. Especially those that read two drafts. A few of them asked if things they were noticing in the second read had been there in the previous draft. Sometimes they hadn’t. I try to learn from all feedback and improve my craft. But sometimes, the things they noticed had been there. They just took on new significance because they now knew the ending.
The elevator opened into a small lobby with a single door. A label to the side of the door read Royal Flush Suite. A fancy wooden chair with blue upholstery sat to the right of the door. The Statler had only one suite on the top floor? Space was so limited on the Cornell campus; there should have been several smaller suites.
The little man led him through the door into a small sitting room. A large, midnight blue velvet couch with little gold button accents reminiscent of the night sky sat flanked by two satin navy and beige striped chairs. A dark wood coffee table with intricately carved legs stood in the middle.
The table legs resembled cherubim, with little wings, holding bows and arrows. Bizarre. Wouldn’t the legs be carved like the bell tower or some other Cornell icon? Maybe this was what the rich donors expected when staying in the Statler’s penthouse.
About Devil’s Bargain
Seth Griffin is forced to live out his wildest dreams at the expense of his best friend, the man he loves.
Seth Griffin’s life was basically on track. Attend Cornell, double major in Mechanical Engineering and Astronomy, play basketball, and room with his best friend, Kevin. So what if he had a hopeless crush on his gorgeous, straight friend.
When Maynard Frederick Winthrop IV buys all of Seth’s family’s debt and threatens to foreclose, everything Seth has worked for is in jeopardy. Winthrop offers Seth a deal: spend a week at his mansion, a place that seems to defy logic and violate the laws of physics, performing challenges of Winthrop’s choosing. If Seth succeeds, all will be forgiven.
But can Seth do as Winthrop asks, especially when Kevin is the one who will pay the price?
Available at: Amazon
An Excerpt from Devil’s Bargain
“There’s one thing I don’t understand about you. You’re gay. You’re out. You live in a liberal state, but you rarely hook up, no boyfriends, nothing. What gives?”
What? Why did Winthrop know he was gay or care?
“Excuse me. I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”
Winthrop’s brows climbed. “Believe me. It’s my business. Everyone has needs, but you live like a monk.”
“I’m a double major across two colleges and a varsity athlete. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, and I’m done with hookups.”
Winthrop shook his head, a frown marring his face. “That’s crazy. There are even a couple guys on your team who have offered to blow you, bottom, top, whatever, but you keep refusing. Even on those away games, alone, in a hotel.”
“Look. Enough of this.” Seth slammed his hand down on the table. “I came here. I sat through this meal. It’s done. You clearly have my family and me over a barrel. Isn’t it time to tell me what this is all about?”
“As you wish.”
About Kathryn Sparrow
Kathryn Sparrow has had stories spinning around in her head her whole life and finally decided it was time to write them down. For twenty years, she worked in the Software Industry as a Software Quality Engineer, so she gets a particular thrill including geeks in her stories. Now, she is a stay-home mom although she thinks that’s a terrible name for the job since she spends so much time driving her kids to their various activities. She lives in Massachusetts with her geek husband and adorable, infuriating daughters, who are too smart for their Mommy’s own good. If she had spare time she would spend it knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, and doing any other handicrafts that caught her fancy.
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