I recently conducted a short reader survey asking for feedback on "Through my Eyes. Again."
It was particularly interesting to read one set of feedback from a reader that did not like the book. Whilst reading the feedback of readers that enjoyed "Through my Eyes. Again." is interesting and useful, as a new author reading the criticisms of someone that did not like it is definitely harder - but rewarding none-the-less.
This respondent felt that there were too many loose ends left hanging. For example, what happened to Will's father and what about that anonymous letter. Will's father simply stops appearing and despite Will and his mother worrying that the anonymous letter's sender is about to resurface at one point, who sent it and why is not revealed.
The writing principle, known as Chekov's Gun, is that every element in a story must be necessary and elements should not make 'false promises' by never being used once they have been mentioned.
Against this stand authors like Ernest Hemingway, who value inconsequential detail, whilst acknowledging that readers may well read into them significance and symbolism unintended by the author.
Both approaches to writing are valid but, to the disappointment of this particular reader, my writing follows Hemingway and not Chekov. I found it illuminating that this reader read through to the end - held by the characters despite the growing frustration that appeared in the survey responses.
These (and other) differences in approach are part of the reason we have authors we like and dislike - and these are valid decisions we all make.
Do you subscribe to Chekov's gun or are you a follower of Hemingway?
Take care of you and yours in these strange times,
PS: I have reasons for leaving those two loose ends (and the others) that I'm happy to discuss on Discord as inevitably such discussion will result in spoilers.