Episode4HeaderWriting

I actually don’t have advice from an established writer in episode 6, but I found something that I thought I might share with you. Something I observed when reading one of the books featured in this episode: Exposure, by Helen Dunmore.

As I mention in the podcast, there is a bit of intrigue in that book and secrets are being unraveled as the plot unfolds (shall I find a more cliched way of talking…?, let’s hope it doesn’t spill into my writing…).

IN the book, there is a scene where the mother and son are talking about the father’s arrest and unbeknown to them, and to the reader, the younger sister is listening. The scene is told from the brother’s point of view, but near the end of the conversation, let me quote to you from the book:

Neither of them hears the stifled noise that Sally makes from behind the door, which she has pushed open, just a little bit, so that she can hear better.
It is only at that point that us, the readers, realise that the young girl has heard the conversation. And then the author tells that scene from the point of view of the girl, what she was doing when she heard that the other two were having a conversation, and what she took from it. I think this was a very interesting way of introducing a surprise – we didn’t know she was there listening; and also a great way of showing two versions of a story.

So that’s my little bit of writing insight today, for those scenes where one character is overhearing others, does the reader know they are there from the first moment? Or is there a different way in which the reader can discover that? And I quite liked how we got the story then from the point of view of another character – a great reminder that the same event can affect all of us differently.