22 July 2007

The Payoff

Readers turn the pages based on their interest in the characters or the excitement caused by the dramatic action or both. The Middle goes on for quite awhile (1/2 of the entire project), and sure, there is lots of conflict, tension, suspense to keep the reader reading, but all those scenes are building to something and that something is the payoff ~~ the Crisis (about 3/4 of the way through the entire book).

It's like climbing a hill. We keep hiking for lots of different reasons, but in the end we're hoping to get to the top = the payoff. In the case of a story, the Crisis is getting to the top. Except, the reader and the character reaches the top only to realize they're only part way there, that another peak awaits them ~~ the Climax ~~ the ulimate payoff for the reader, the crowning glory of the entire project.

Analyzing other books similar to your genre helps writers begin to "feel" the energetic flow of the story and better helps you apply the principles to your own work. Plus, you'll find lots of great hints and tips and ideas when you are reading as a writer, not just a reader.