Some of my beta comments fall under the category of 'I the reader am frustrated by what I do not know' - and I've gotten this comment in my real life group too.
The reader wants information as soon as a question comes to mind for them. In my real life group I don't worry too much, the nature of the critique is fragmented, many excerpts, we can't remember previous chapters from weeks ago, etc.
But the beta comments have the same concern. They want to know everything, as soon as the question comes to mind, as though they are uncomfortable wondering. They want to not be asked to wait.
Popular Examples of what I'm talking about:
Owls are trying to delver a letter to Harry. Why? We don't find out for a while.
The ring of power makes a person invisible and eventually eats their soul. Why?
R2-D2 has a hologram of a beautiful princess and it's supposed to go to a crazy man in the desert. Why?
Why do my betas ask for the answers to these sorts of questions 'right away' (or even more oddly, before the strange event even happens)? I think I pace the reveals properly, based on my own reading enjoyment. I have tried to make the story enjoyable (rich setting etc). I don't know whether to ...
reorganize paragraphs so they get answers before they ask questions, but this seems like it would reduce tension.
obscure the odd events, so the reader is less aware of holding the question in mind. This seems even worse than #1.
Maybe my beta readers are simply impatient people who normally gravitate towards other styles of books. ??
Maybe the reveal pacing is perfect, but other elements in my writing keep the space between question and reveal too un-enjoyable.
I'm very puzzled by it. Perhaps the beta read process has its own shortcomings. Any thoughts you have on the above are most welcome. (I see odd events with future reveal to be an important aspect of tension. I'd like to not lose tension.)
To focus the question: What are the best methods to pace and reveal story plot points?
Fake example, written on the fly:
Natasha raced up to the house. Fumbling, she pulled out her key chain. Damn. Damn damn damn. The wand's inside. She jiggles the key into the lock. She tries to turn it.
Nothing. She pulls the key out, it's the right one. She tries again. No luck. It's the right key. She tries the others, naturally they don't work, either.
It's at this point that my beta is commenting, "I want to know why the key doesn't work."
(then there's ~two paragraphs of Natasha pulling clues together, trying to figure out why the house key doesn't work, wondering if a window is open, should she run? because she has to get inside or else...) Then, after those two paragraphs -
At that moment, the shifter appears. Natasha backs up, next to the door out of reach, quaking. If only she'd gotten inside she'd have her wand.
He said, "I shift more than myself, Natasha. Your keys are worthless. You're not in your world anymore. "
Second draft would be tighter - but same structure. Is this structure somehow wrong?