Training readers' anticipation

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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磯七ラスミ
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Training readers' anticipation

#1 Post by 磯七ラスミ » Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:30 am

How much lines to throw to teach the readers possible consequences so they build anticipation?
I'm aware about showing instead telling, for round off the sharpness.

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Re: Training readers' anticipation

#2 Post by nerupuff » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:42 am

I think it might help to make sure that you choose the right words in a sentence to build up anticipation, without giving much away to the reader/player. I don't know if there is an absolute number of lines that helps you to make such a thing, but perhaps not so long of a narrative, but also not so short, though I know that some people are able to make short lines that have a lot of content and makes the reader look forward to upcoming events.

To enhance the mood of such things ,especially for anticipation, having some assistance from other elements in a VN like sound, images, backgrounds, to build up the emotion in a scene can help with improving the anticipation of a reader, especially if interesting and done well.

Good luck!
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Re: Training readers' anticipation

#3 Post by Mutive » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:40 pm

I think it was (might be wrong on this) Hemmingway who said don't try to build anticipation. Just tell the reader everything.

I disagree. But I think a lot of writers try to build anticipation by *hiding* things from the reader, which rarely works. (There are some notable examples where it does, but often it just feels like the writer is trying to be cagey and makes things super confusing as reader-I try to figure out what in the heck is going on.)

For anticipation, I personally think the best way of building it is to find a compelling character and give them an interesting problem. Then *inherently* want to know how the character is going to solve it and am hooked in. There are other ways, too, of course. (A great mystery, beautiful writing, great visuals, etc.) But most of the reason, I read (or play a VN) to find a compelling character solve an interesting problem.

Also, I'd personally focus on what hooks *you* into a game. What makes you think, "Wow, I want to play more?" Probably this will work for other players. :)
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Re: Training readers' anticipation

#4 Post by Ezmar » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:17 am

Mutive wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:40 pm
I disagree. But I think a lot of writers try to build anticipation by *hiding* things from the reader, which rarely works. (There are some notable examples where it does, but often it just feels like the writer is trying to be cagey and makes things super confusing as reader-I try to figure out what in the heck is going on.)
I agree with this point. The only time I hide information from the reader is when I want them to be confused later on. If the protagonist is supposed to be confused about something, and I can do so gracefully, I try to see if I can't get the reader to also feel that same confusion. Usually this is around some small twist or sudden event.

Occasionally, though, I'll leave little... well, not hints, but I won't exactly hide the information, I just won't spell it out. That way, the observant reader gets to feel like they figured it out, without anyone getting spoon-fed. Right now I'm working on a chapter where a savvy reader might notice a plot hole. Only come the end of the chapter, it's not a plothole at all, but information the protagonist - and by extension the reader - only thought was true.

There are lots of ways to play with this. Everyone kind of has their own style when it comes to hooking people in. Personally, I try to first and foremost ensure that the scenes and dialogue are flowing as naturally as I can manage. If that's accomplished, I have a story that, at the bare minimum, isn't awkward to read. I try to get the plot points and developments to occur within that framework, but never at the expense of the flow. Occasionally this leads to scenes I worry might feel meandering, since I hadn't planned on things taking as long as they do, but most of the time, I'm told the pacing works fairly well, which I chalk up to my attempts to try and maintain realism in the progression of scenes.

Remember: The reader wants to know what happens next, but that doesn't always mean that it's better to tell them sooner. Nor do you want to tease them and keep them waiting. Promise something interesting, and let it come in its own time. 9 times out of 10 if you naturally follow all of the scenes necessary to get to the point you want, the reader will be left with just the right amount of anticipation.

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Re: Training readers' anticipation

#5 Post by 磯七ラスミ » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:07 am

Thanks everyone for your entry. I do myself enjoy the most thinking about where plots could lead to. Many outcomes exists just by being hinted but they actually never happen and I find that awesome.
Ezmar wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:17 am
Remember: The reader wants to know what happens next, but that doesn't always mean that it's better to tell them sooner. Nor do you want to tease them and keep them waiting. Promise something interesting, and let it come in its own time. 9 times out of 10 if you naturally follow all of the scenes necessary to get to the point you want, the reader will be left with just the right amount of anticipation.
Like leaving a trail of candy, I guess. :D

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