As authors, we write for a lot of reasons. But we all have stories that we want to persuade readers to read. Every word counts in that persuasion. Sometimes we have to manipulate the information we give to readers for a variety of reasons, some of which would be to entertain, educate, inspire, and convict.
But some stories require a little misleading up front in order to accomplish those ends. (I guess it's true that sometimes the end does justify the means.) I was actually accidentally mislead by the overheard comment about my client. But one of my commenters (thanks Kerry!) made such an excellent point that we might deliberately need to mislead the reader up front.
According to the Information Manipulation theory, we have to mislead a reader by breaking one of four conversational (or literary) maxims/truths:
- Quantity: Information given will be full (as per expected by the listener/reader) and without omission.
- Quality: information given will be truthful and correct.
- Relation: information will be relevant to the subject matter of the conversation in hand.
- Manner: things will be presented in a way that enables others to understand and with aligned non-verbal language.