When you write, do you write for clarity? Or do you like to keep the mystery going for as long as you can?
I'm definitely in the latter category. My series is all about secrets and betrayals. So for that to work, I need to keep things on the obscure side. I think a lot of writers prefer to keep things veiled for the simple reason that we can add more twists and turns and keep readers guessing. I mean, we can't keep people guessing if they already know...
Of course, that brings me to the first point I want to make. If you want to go for obscure, make sure that it is in fact obscure. There are few things as annoying as having to scream at a character because he/she can't see something that is happening right before their eyes.
Making the reader scream because they can see something that the character has NO WAY of seeing, is sheer brilliance. It's something I strive for.
Back to obscurity. It is also important that the writing isn't too obscure. If the reader is saying "huh?!" too many times, it pulls the right out of the story. At best.
If the writer throws in a twist with zero setting up beforehand, it will probably result in the book being flung against the wall.
That's too obscure.
So what would be the ideal reaction from the reader in this case? Something like the following:
"HUH?! Wait... *wince* oooooohhhh... that."
Yep. I'm a firm believer in Chekhov's Gun. Obscure the reason for the clue's existence, but not the clue itself. It must be VERY clearly visible. Because the idea is to slap the reader behind the head with it later. Not because they missed it, but because they missed its significance.