41. Troubleshooting Craft: Earning Emotional Payoff
This week Kelly and JJ try to analyze what makes a book give them the Feels. What makes a book emotionally satisfying? Can a book be universally satisfying, or is it purely a personal thing? Also, they finally unleash their Thoughts about endings to big fictional properties (LOST, the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc.). Plus their one-year podcast anniversary is coming up, so suggestions about how to celebrate would be appreciated!
Creating a Satisfying Character Arc by Julie Eshbaugh
Raising the Stakes by Julie Eshbaugh
Conflict that Resonates by Julie Eshbaugh
(Julie's a great resource on this sort of stuff, y'all!)
Want to Write Better Stories? Write About Change by Janice Hardy
Emotional payoff comes when promises implicitly set up in the beginning are fulfilled by the end
There are two types of emotional payoff for a reader: narrative and personal.
Narrative emotional satisfaction comes from plot/premise/character arcs being fulfilled, but personal satisfaction comes from the reader getting what they wanted from the story
Sometimes these two things don't go hand-in-hand. Just because a book doesn't end the way you wanted it to end doesn't mean it's not a valid ending or that it's a "betrayal."
Types of unsatisfying endings: personal, unearned endings, and betrayal.
Unearned endings come about when the payoff is improperly set up (the implicit narrative promise is introduced too late) or promises made in the beginning is simply forgotten or not resolved.
The betrayal comes about when the reader has been misled about what promises are going to be fulfilled.
Narrative promises are really emotional takeaways, like a theme, or the answer to the question "What is your book about?" Writing with a theme in mind will get in the way of the story as you're drafting, but themes emerge over the course of writing. Revision is the process of strengthening the takeaway in the book.
Books Discussed/What We're Reading
What We're Working On
Y'all can answer this one for us already. It's gonna be real boring here on the podcast until we're both done drafting our books. So until we have some more stuff to talk about at the end, we're introducing...
What You're Saying
We really do love and appreciate every review you give us, and to show our thanks, we're gonna call them out on the podcast itself! This week:
Perfect podcast for authors in waiting ★★★★★ JevanL Thank you for this! What a fantastic podcast for us authors who have yet to cross through the traditional publishing door.
No, thank you for listening! We're really glad this podcast is helpful for you, so leaving reviews is a great way to give us feedback about what works, what doesn't, and even suggestions for what you would like us to cover in the future.
Off Menu Recommendations
That's all for this week! Next week we'll be doing our second ever QUERY CRITIQUE. Also, our one year podcast anniversary is coming up! 😱 If you have any suggestions about what we should do to celebrate, let us know in the comments. Thanks for listening and sticking with us!