Where do you draw line between being clear in explaining the events that take place in your story and spelling things out SLOWLY AND IN BOLD TYPE TO BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU'RE BEING CLEAR? I said, SLOWLY AND IN BOLD TYPE TO BE SURE YOU'RE BEING CLEAR, in case you missed it the first time.
The latter always seems patronising to me. Readers have more intelligence than that, yet... sometimes I'll get feedback along the lines of 'what happened to Johnson's partner?'
I'll read that bit of the story back and it'll seem quite clear to me: 'Johnson raised his gun and took aim at his unsuspected partner's back. In the next room, Mary jumped on hearing the sound of a gunshot'.
Usually the reader will spot the implication if I point it out, but on a first read through it isn't clear to them. I'm trying to be subtle and they miss subtle. I've run across the same thing when making films. If I explain a plot point in dialogue, it's only 50/50 that a viewer will pick up on it. I'm sure that's why people complain about Hollywood movies being dumb and explaining their plot over and over again - you may notice that they've pointed out who the killer is half a dozen times, but the guy in the row behind you may only think they've hinted at it once.
I don't want to always have to write: 'Johnson raised his gun and took aim at his unsuspecting partner's back. He pulled the trigger and the bullet smashed through his fellow cop's torso a moment later. Johnson's partner - ex-partner - fell to the floor, the life gone from his eyes. Johnson crouched down beside him. He checked his pulse. Dead. He did the mirror test, just to be sure. Yep, no breath. Johnson's partner was dead. Johnson had shot him and now he was dead. As a dodo. Bloody hole in his back and Johnson was responsible. Johnson was a murderer. He'd killed his partner. Who was now dead. Johnson shot him again through the head, just in case. In the next room, Mary jumped on hearing the sound of a gunshot.'
But I also want my readers to enjoy the whole story, not my whole story minus all the bits that weren't quite clear enough or obvious enough. How do you judge where that line should be drawn?