Do your plots run in a straight line? Do they twist and turn? Do you tell the story from start to finish, laying out the characters and events for the reader? Or do you hide things in the shadows or smoke?
Whether your book is a mystery or a romance or a memoir, the story doesn’t have to travel in a straight line. Everything doesn’t have to be revealed up front. Everything has to be there, but it can be “camouflaged” or told out of sequence. There can be shadows that hide the clues. There can be layers that have to be revealed over the course of the book rather than all at once.
If everything is laid out and revealed, why would your readers keep reading? If all the clues are obvious, what would keep the readers guessing?
One goal should be to make your readers have to work a little to figure out who the bad guy is or if he will be caught, to determine if the heroine deserves the hero or whether someone else will step in, to wonder if the subject of the book will come out whole or with a lesson for the reader.
Your book needs layers. It needs shadows. Clarity. Continuance. It needs turns that take the reader down the unexpected path. It needs depth. Your book can have multiple dimensions, not just one.
5 weeks ago