Monday, October 24, 2016

Q is for Questions

Ana asks: is it good storytelling to leave questions unanswered temporarily?

Critique partners often pounce on scenes where a question is left unanswered.
Is this a writer's thing?
Does leaving out an immediate explanation turn off a reader?
Where is the line between hook and frustration?

I don't know.
And I'd love your feedback.


  1. I think it depends on the question!
    If it is an obviously deliberate ploy by the author, it can be frustrating because it seems that the author is simply hiding something from his/her readers in order to hook them. However, if it's a question a character cannot answer (for whatever reason), then the reader will want to know how the character finds the answer and what happens next!

    1. Yes, it definitely depends on the question.
      Assessing by the character's understanding is a good measure.

  2. I think that as long as the readers know, or guess, that the question will be answered later in the book, it's OK to leave it open.

    1. In a mystery, the writer will toss red herrings.
      I feel some guessing by the reader could promote engagement.

  3. I think questions are good. It leaves the reader with something to think about and a reason to keep turning the pages.

  4. I think questions are a great way to keep the reader invested in the story, as long as the questions are answered and are essential to the plot.

  5. A question could be a good page turner