S35E3 – When There’s Buildup Without a Payoff

Plot points set up within a story need to be resolved. That’s pretty straightforward, right? That, however, is not how it turns out for a lot of new authors, especially pantsers (or discovery writers). Sometimes we find ourselves including interesting tidbits that the reader thinks will play an important part in the story, but then it never actually comes back into play. Maybe the character discovered an interesting power, or a magical item, which soon finds itself lost in the meandering plot.

Setup without payoff may not be something that immediately makes a reader set down a book, but it will negatively impact their overall view of the story. It may even keep them from continuing the series because the ending didn’t satisfy all of the questions they had, and they don’t have trust that the author will resolve those in the coming stories.

In this episode, we talk about this red flag in novels, how to avoid it, and ways to keep the tension but still give the necessary satisfaction to the readers.

First aired September 8, 2022.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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