Ugh. Please pity me. On page 180, I had a wild hope he had tricked me after all. That I was wrong. That I hadn't guessed the ENTIRE book in the third chapter. But alas, no. It played out exactly as I dreaded.
Which, of course, got me thinking about telegraphing your plot, foreshadowing and all sort of other goodies. I can think of three kinds of telegraphing as far as plots are concerned:
1) Clumsy. You give it all away like a drunken sailor. You think it's clever, you think no one will see it coming, but the truth is, it's obvious. You know why? Because THERE'S NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE. If you have a story with three people, and one is the good guy and one is in a coma, well ... you do the math. The other one is the bad guy.
2) Inevitable. Oh, this can be delicious. You know the train is heading for the cliff. You know it will head off the cliff. But it cannot be stopped. The story is grinding inexorably toward its stomach-churning destiny. All that remains is for your characters to deal with the awful truth. Handled well, this can be magnificent. After all, who doubted Luke would confront Darth? But how, lovely readers, therein lies the magic.
3) Brilliantly. OK, this is plot nirvana. First, you have telegraphed multiple endings. But only one is the real ending. The rest are red herrings (a most delicious fish). And the real ending is shrouded in ambiguity and doubt even as it's being revealed. Can it be? Is that even possible? But doesn't that mean ...? It's a shock when the moment is unveiled, when your masterpiece is finally seen in full. Rebecca does this. The Sixth Sense does this.
I'm usually aiming for door 3, but I'm perfectly happy to hit door 2. And if I suspect I've passed through door 1, it's time to tear the whole thing up and start over ...
How about you? Where does telegraphing fit into your world?