There’s a school thought that says it’s better to keep certain things a mystery in order to surprise your readers. This is different than a twist. This is more like withholding information from readers, or better yet, having characters withhold information from each other and, by extension, the readers.
Because people so seldom say exactly what’s on their mind, right?
This is true. But I can see how it can get annoying if an author finds clever (to him) ways of eliding around important information to catch the readers unaware.
Of course, I’m talking from personal experience. My excellent editor called me out on this in a few key spots in my next book (out sometime in 2019; that’s about all I can promise now!).
And she was right. I was being too coy. Too clever. To smart for my own good.
The drama doesn’t have to come at the expense of pissing off the reader, because if the reader is annoyed, if the drama doesn’t make sense, they won’t care about how clever you think you are as a writer.
“Dramatic irony” involves something the audience knows but the characters in a work do not. This, by definition, doesn’t require keeping the reader in the dark.
The things that seem obvious, but you sometimes need an editor to point out when you’re lost in the forest of your own story.