Our continuing exploration of tension has taken us to a favorite technique: unanswered questions. Sure, this obviously applies to mysteries, but consider the question posed in romances: “will they get together?” In its simplest form, the unanswered question that forces a page-turn is “what happens on the next page?” In this episode we explore how to use unanswered questions to drive tension, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.
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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:02 — 15.4MB)
What questions have you, in your current work-in-progress, posed for the reader? Can you pose more? Look for ways to ask questions to which the story can give multiple answers.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV)
10 thoughts on “18.12: The Long Shadow of Unanswered Questions”
Errr… where’s the podcast is not a good question to leave unanswered?
The link to the audio is missing.
Take the link from the last podcast, substitute the title of this episode, and… you can get a download?
Sorry for the missing audio. That was all me. I forgot to populate one little field before scheduling the post…
The link is now there — and it works. Thanks
What’s the best way to let you know when we see something like this?
If you think cell phones were disruptive for unanswered questions, think what happens when the protagonist simply asks an AI for the answer.
Red herrings come in all kinds of colors now!
This week, Mary Robinette, DongWon, Erin, Dan, and Howard avoided answering questions. Well, actually, they answered the question, how do you avoid answering questions. You can read the discussion in the transcript available in the archives.
The transcript is also available over here: