Is it acceptable to have a subplot run out of sync in front of the main plot by a couple of days and hide that fact from the reader until near the end, where it then becomes synced with the main plot? Or will the reader feel cheated?

The time difference distances the subplot character from the crime scene. That subplot is the story of the character's journey to the crime. As the story advances, the reader will realise they have been following this character two days before the crime happened and that the character had been at the crime all along.

The genre is Crime/Mystery, and the reader will get clues or evidence pointing to the subplot character while the detective investigates the scene.

Acceptable? or will the reader feel cheated out of clues or information?


1 Answer 1


It depends. How well do you hide it? If it's obvious, then the reader may possibly feel cheated. It also depends on the reader. Some will notice, some will not. Some will feel cheated, some will not. I honestly wouldn't care, as long as the story was good, but I'm not everyone. Just make sure it's hidden well and written well.

  • I think I think the opposite - if it's too well hidden, I'd be more likely to feel cheated, because there was no way I could have guessed / figured it out. Commented May 20, 2020 at 19:57
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    @DM_with_secrets Personally, I would like to read a book where I'm misled (books for me are sometimes boring and having the author lead you in the correct direction is also boring). I stated that I'm not everyone, so I can see how you would like a story where you are not too misled or not misled. I see how it differs, but it's still good to bring it up. It's better to see both sides instead of just one, which can help to improve stories greatly. Commented May 20, 2020 at 20:31
  • Yeah, fair enough - it's interesting to have different viewpoints! :) Commented May 20, 2020 at 20:45

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