marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

annoying incluing

There's this novel that I remember well.  Archaic Greece for the setting.  Except that a character snuck into a garden and stole potatoes.  Later, there's a major -- not foreign -- character named John.

And  then, at the end of the book, a character is looking at the Oracle, and letters appear before him, "THERE IS NO GOD" -- he blinks -- "OTHER THAN YOU" -- and I go, "That's Wisdom -- on a computer!"

The thing was, the clues were insufficient.  They just looked like bad world-building.  And that was a bad case since on re-reading, I found no additional clues, and the one that really clued me in was literally the climax of the story.

OTOH, there are readers who won't pick up clues.  I, indeed, once had a story criticized because it had both trains and peasants.  That shouldn't even need incluing.  Peasants were being worn away in the nineteenth centuries as the trains came in, but there were still distinct peasantries.  Indeed, there probably are recognizable peasants in regions with trains to this day.

But -- you wrestle with it.  Is this mad jumble of names -- Anastasia, Ogier, Hyacinth -- going to clue the reader into the jumble that the world consists of it, or just make him think that the author doesn't realize that the names are all of quite different regions and unlike to appear together barring lots of travel in a pre-modern world?
Tags: exposition, names, travel, world-building: food, world-building: general, world-building: plants

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