I've recently written a cyberpunk mystery story for a writing group with my friends, and after receiving some feedback I had an interesting question about story design that I thought was worth asking here.
The plot of the story revolves around a detective who is trying to expose a corrupt cybersecurity software company. At the end of the first chapter, there's a relatively mundane interaction with the detective's friend, and the conversation tacitly reveals that our detective protagonist is an android. I designed this reveal to be intentionally casual and minor, thinking that this would make the moment all the more surprising, and I figured it would be a fun "wow" moment when it clicks with the reader and they go back and think about the first chapter of the story from that perspective.
However, one of my writing group readers told me that they thought this was a really big and shocking reveal and deserved a bigger, more important moment in the story, and asked that I do a rewrite where I don't reveal the protagonist's true nature until closer to the end, so that the reader gets to rethink everything that's happened up until now through that perspective and has a bigger "aha" moment than in the current draft.
That got me thinking of a question which I'd like to ask here.
How do you determine the timing of big story reveals? In other words, how do you go about deciding whether to put a reveal towards the beginning, the middle, or the end, and what are the pros and cons of doing each?