Let's discuss plot points where everyone (including/especially the narrator) knows what's going on but the READER does not.
I opened the door, and the room erupted into gasps and mutters when I saw who stood behind it.
The next paragraph would reveal this mystery person, but the chapter ends and the name isn't revealed until much later.
As a writer, if you use this type of storytelling, you must put a lot of careful thought into it. In anything that involves narrators keeping readers out of the loop, there's no space for careless writing.
For those of you who have read ONE OF US IS LYING, you've already seen an example of a story successfully exposing readers to information bit by bit. The technique adds suspense and mystery without being overly confusing (and leads to one of my favorite moments).
Not all writers use this technique successfully, and more importantly, not all stories are suitable for it.
As a reader, this type of story can be frustrating and confusing.
As with everything else, if you consider hiding info from the reader, ask yourself: what's my intention?
If your intention is to add suspense, are there other ways to do that? Why this one in particular?
Suspense needs to have a worthy payoff.
For the example above, is the person behind the door worth keeping a secret? Imagine how disappointing it would be if several chapters later, the reveal ends up anticlimactic.
This also ties into instances where you deceive the reader. If the reader jumps to conclusions, it's up to you to use that to your advantage. Finding out the truth WITH the narrator is enough of a shock. But if not, make sure it adds to the plot.
You can build up to a huge moment. You can leave room for a pleasant surprise.
Just don't reveal fifty crucial details at once.
Writers must earn readers' trust and investment. Once you have it, don't throw it away!
YOU ARE READING
From an Editor: Common Writing MistakesNon-Fiction
As a content and copy editor, I see mistakes that many writers make. I've compiled these into some quick tips and examples for anyone who may find this helpful. (Adapted from a Twitter thread I wrote.)