Pretend with me for a moment. Let’s pretend you are a struggling writer, trying to complete a novel you really like. You’ve given your tome to an editor, who slowly gives you back comments. For the most part, they are helpful, though focused mainly on typos, grammar, and comprehension. In a couple of sections, wherein you are trying not to give away the story, there are comments like:
“Who is this?” or
“I don’t understand.” or even
“Where is the baby?” (which is revealed 2 pages later, oh great god of Impatience.)
How do you decide whether the editor is 1) right, 2) a dummy, or 3) too unwilling to be confused for a bit?
I’m not certain, but I suppose as the writer, I have to assume the reader is approximately equal in comprehension as my editor, and certainly no more. Still, in the past, where I’ve spelled things out, I’ve gotten feedback like “You have to trust your reader.” Yeah, maybe my reader is stupid. Then what?
Anyway, this is one of those areas where being an artist is tough. Writing isn’t math. Our equations don’t always balance, and the proofs can be disproven by the next person who sees your work. I, for one, fall to self-belief. I have to trust that voice inside to decide when to make a change and when to say, “I’m okay with your not knowing what the heck is going on here, because you’ll know soon enough.
Perhaps I’m making a mistake, but I’d rather make my mistakes than someone else’s.