The difficulty in writing a novel of discovery lies in sustaining reader engagement from the moment of the story’s inciting incident to the initial revelation, and from there through the subsequent action that propels the reader to the next discovery and the next until he/she, along with the protagonist, achieves recognition of the true nature of what has been taking place in the story. In short, the story itself must be compelling, aside from the revelations. In addition, the revelations must arise organically from the plot and be increasingly significant to the storyline.
The protagonist in my novel is eleven-year-old Seth Roberson. At the outset of the story, he makes it his mission to see that the death of Vietnam War veteran Seaman Garber, whose body has gone unclaimed, does not go unacknowledged. As a result of Seth’s quest, more and more is revealed about Garber’s mysterious death and his even more mysterious life. But it is only when Seaman Garber’s true identity is revealed that Seth, along with the reader, recognizes the true nature of what has been taking place in the story.
How successful I’ve been in engaging the reader in my story and keeping him/her engaged by stoking intrigue with each successive discovery, and whether with the final reveal I achieve the hoped for emotional response from the reader, can only be judged by the reader feedback I get.