About S. Andrew Swann

S. Andrew Swann is the pen name of Steven Swiniarski. He’s married and lives in the Greater Cleveland area where he has lived all of his adult life. He has a background in mechanical engineering and— besides writing— works as a Database Manager for one of the largest private child services agencies in the Cleveland area. He has published over 20 novels since 1993. Currently he is working on the Dragon* series for DAW books, the first of which, Dragon•Princess, came out May 2014. The second, Dragon•Thief, arrived in April 2015. The final volume, Dragon•Wizard, is expected in early 2016.

11-22-63

11/22/63I’ve always liked Stephen King.  He counts as one of the significant influences on me as a writer. And reading (listening to) one of his more recent works, 11/22/63, I came to an epiphany about one of the major techniques he uses to keep readers continually turning the pages. Maybe I just noticed it more when I listened to his work via audiobook than on the page, but once I noticed it, I remembered all the times he used this technique, bits from books I might have read decades ago.

It’s so damn simple too.

He foreshadows the crap out of everything.

He does it big, he does it small, he does it with the main story plot and he does it with the subplots about character relationships. He will flat out tell you something’s important behind this here door, and then he’ll walk the plot away leaving you desperate to know what’s behind it. 11/22/63 practically breathes foreshadowing simply because the nature of the premise, but the book itself is littered with smaller examples from the early mention of “the broom” to the narrator saying that placing a particular bet was a mistake long before we are ever shown why. It seems that rarely a scene goes by in the first two thirds of the book where he isn’t saying in some fashion, “You see this? Pay attention, it will come up later.”

It’s like crack to a reader, sprinting ahead to see each hint pay off.

Now pardon me while I go figure out how to do it as smoothly as he does.

(read more… or go to blog…)