Can you tell a joke? I find it’s not that easy.
You heard this particular joke a while back. It’s a good joke and you think you remember how it goes and so off you go. ‘Listen to this one,’ you say. But half way through you realise it’s not going to work because you’ve somehow given away part of the punch-line. Or you get all the way to the end and discover the punch-line won’t work because you’ve missed some vital detail along the way. Either way there’s a fair chance that for the joke to work you’re going to have to start telling it all over again, from the beginning.
Well a novel is a tad longer than the average joke, and not necessarily comical, but in terms of the plot it works in much the same way. The information has to be revealed in just the right order and at just the right pace or it won’t work. And if when you get to the end, or even half way through, you find your joke is falling flat, it’s a very long way back to the start.
Stand-up comedy, anyone?