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Shhhhh! Keeping secrets

Last week I went along to Mary Erskine Junior School to speak to the Primary 3 children as part of their book week.  What a brilliant time I had!  The children were all full of ideas and had lots of good questions – including lots of tricky ones about what actually happens in The Wishcatchers.  I felt quite mean not spilling the beans on all the secrets.  I know so much more about the Wishcatchers than I have put in the books.  That’s one of the privileges of being the author!  But I couldn’t tell anyone the whole story, because that would spoil the book.

Or would it?  I’m sure we all know someone who always reads the ending of a book before they’re even halfway through.  Maybe you’re one of those people.  I don’t like to know what’s going to happen before I read it, so I never do.  But here’s a strange thing.  Sometimes when I re-read a book that has a spectacular secret at the end, I actually enjoy it more.  I think it’s because I know where it’s going, so I can sit back and enjoy the journey.  I notice things I didn’t notice first time round because I was so anxious to  find out what happened next.  I often discover new depths or beautiful language that I missed first time round.

But I don’t think this means I would recommend reading the ending before you get to it.  Rather, I think it is a perfect argument for reading a book more than once.  What do you think?

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  1. February 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve never read the ending of a book before the beginning or middle! I like to follow the story as it happens, though I do know what you mean about enjoying the journey a second time when you know the end. I did however sometimes show or read my kids the end of a book, when they were very little, if they were nervous about what was happening, especially if they were worried that something terrible was going to happen to the main characters – then I’d flick to the last page and show them everyone was ok at the end, so that we could enjoy the tension of the middle bit without too much fear.
    Sometimes when I’m doing author events in schools, I have to request that pupils who’ve read my novels don’t ask questions which would give away the end to people who haven’t read them yet! (I do always answer those questions quietly at the end!)

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