Turns out I'm being coy. STILL.
While writing the novel with A (my old writing partner), oh so many years ago, we realized that we kept falling into the trap of being coy with information. New writers--hell, even more experienced writers--do it. A lot. We think that to build suspense we have to hold back information and then spring it on the reader. Tada! we say. Look at this cool thing I pulled out of my hat when you weren't looking!
Suspense is built when characters are in the dark, not when readers are. Sure, some pieces of information need to be kept aside for a while, and then used when the time is right. Some of suspense is about timing, too. But we often confuse a story with a joke, thinking we have to build up to a surprise, a punchline. And then what happens is that the reader is lost or bored, on the verge of throwing the book away because that 100 (or 50, or even 10) pages they were going to give you to make something happen is nearly used up. And then where are you? Right: you're in the bin or the pile to go to the charity shop, UNREAD!
When telling a story, we have to TELL THE DAMN STORY. Yet, somehow, I am still not doing that, if even in a small way. I thought I was doing it better. I thought I was straddling the line between letting the story unfold and just blabbing a bunch of information. Obviously I'm still fucking it up. And now I have to go back and revise this story again, somehow look at it as if I've never seen it before and make it make sense. I have to be brave enough to push myself away from the wall and go ask it to dance. Again.