Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wedding day blues

I was a wedding photographer for years and one thing never changed – the bride spent months and months planning for her one perfect day. There were countless conversations about the perfect time to cut the cake, the most beautiful setting for the bridal portraits, the best song for the father/daughter dance, etc … and sometimes, when the big day finally arrived, I could tell immediately which brides felt a little let down.

Don’t get me wrong, they enjoyed their wedding but there was no way it was ever going to live up the expectations they created months and months ago. The build-up was just too big. Maybe the band didn’t sound as good as they thought they would, or the cake was a little dry or maybe all the groomsmen were drunk and doing the alligator across the floor – whatever the case, there was some disappointment.

The same thing can happen when you read a thriller or mystery.
There are many devices we, as writers, use (paranoia, fear, mistrust…) that moves the reader to the edge of their seat. We put our poor characters into insane situations and always hint to sinister forces that lurk in the background.  And getting the reader to that sweet spot of oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-put-this-book-down is quite an achievement. But when the curtain is pulled back and all is made known – there is a make or break moment: Was the pay-off worth it? Or was the build-up just too big?

Because, to me at least, there is nothing more frustrating when reading a thriller or mystery than getting to the big reveal moment and thinking, “That’s it?”
If you hint to sinister forces lurking in the background, then you better make sure you deliver said sinister forces. And maybe a drunken groomsman doing the alligator just for good measure.

Ashley Elston lives in North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. Her debut, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, will be published with Disney Hyperion on May 14, 2013.

You can find Ashley here:


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