Place Easter egg to reward careful readers

Sometimes the real pleasure of writing – and reading – isn’t about a well-crafted tale with a fast-moving plot involving intriguing characters set in a well-described landscape. After all, penning such a story entails a lot of sweat, and for readers, they expect nothing less than a well-developed piece. Instead, the real smile comes when the author leaves a special treats for the reader, such as hiding some surprise not germane to the story. These surprises are called “Easter eggs”, a term science fiction writing workshops have borrowed from the jargon of computer programming.

For example, an author might encode, with the first letters of consecutive sentences, some message to the reader. In other instances, the author may use obscure allusions, such as what James Lecky does in his recently published “The Season Without Sun”. In the Lecky’s story, the antagonists are a people called the “Dajzyn” – the Tuva word for “enemy.” Tuva is a Russian republic on the central steppes of Asia, which one theory posits is where homo sapiens came from when moving into Ice Age Europe, the apparent setting of this story.

The pleasure for the author is akin to being part of an inside joke. The pleasure for the reader comes in possessing a deeper understanding of the piece – or at least in knowing that he’s one of the few who got the in-joke! It strengthens the bond between writer and reader.

If placing an Easter egg into your story, remember that it usually is hidden deep within the text. It shouldn’t disrupt the narrative’s flow. After all, the Easter egg often is superfluous to the story. In addition, don’t sacrifice time crafting and polishing the story to hide an Easter egg. The reason a reader opts to look at your story is to enjoy a quality tale. The Easter egg is just a fun surprise.