18.10: Anticipation is More Than Just Making Us Wait

Last week we talked about tension, and promised that we’d be breaking it down into more pieces. This week we’re discussing one of those pieces: Anticipation. We sub-divided it as follows:

  • Surprise
  • Suspense
  • Humor
  • Promises

We talk about how to create anticipatory tension well, where the pitfalls are, and how this fits into the creation of our stories.

Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Look at your current WIP. Are there genre tropes that you can subvert? Can you pay off reader anticipation by delivering something other than what the genre has led the reader to expect?

Dead Country, by Max Gladstone

2 thoughts on “18.10: Anticipation is More Than Just Making Us Wait”

  1. This week…. (wait for it!) Mary Robinette, DongWon, Erin, Dan, and Howard talked about anticipation. Mary Robinette started by suggesting four forms, surprise, suspense, humor, and unfulfilled promises. When will that ketchup come out of the bottle? When will they get to make out? What’s going to happen to the mentor? What’s with the cat figurines? Did Chekhov’s gun get lost? Beta readers? Plenty of discussion that you can read about now in the transcript in the archives. No waiting!

Comments are closed.