Smoke, Mirrors, and Writers

Writers are in the business of smoke and mirrors. No matter what the genre, we like to use words to lead our readers along a winding path of subterfuge, magic, and surprise. We all search for the holy grail, that fine line between predictability and ridiculously obscure.

Sometimes the smoke is thinner than it could be, sometimes the mirrors are slightly disproportionate, but our goal is always to give the reader a break from reality, a release from the mundane.

Sometimes the mystique is completely, and deliberately, unexpected. As authors, we can tell enough of a story to guide the reader to draw their own conclusions, only to pull the metaphorical rug from under them when they reach the end. When I wrote the Reborn Trilogy, I knew where the final book was going to finish, but I didn’t want my readers to know until they got there.

As authors, we indulge the darker traits of humanity – like lies and deception – in a way that’s not only acceptable to society, but expected by it when they curl up with our books.

Today is Smoke and Mirrors Day, referring to how magicians use all manner of distraction to make sure an audience fails to see what’s really going on. As authors we do the same thing, but words are our smoke, paper is our mirror, and the book is our trick…the only difference is that we make sure our audience understands how it’s done by the end.




2 thoughts on “Smoke, Mirrors, and Writers

  1. I had no idea that Smoke and Mirrors Day existed. How very cool! Also, I enjoyed your thoughts on the tools of deception that us writers employ. I think that having the end of our story in mind while simultaneously leading readers along a winding and unpredictable path is one of the greatest parts of being a writer. I like misleading my audience just a bit, but not in a way that is disappointingly deceptive. It’s a fine art that requires finesse!


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