Posts Tagged ‘mysteries’

Avoiding ‘punchlines’

In Writing on April 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

After yesterday’s post, I thought it might be useful today to talk about a writing principle related to that story: the principle of avoiding ‘punchlines.’

What is a ‘punchline’ story?

We’ve all read punchline stories — stories where the whole meaning or effect hinges on a twist at the very end. Punchlines are the basis not only of jokes but also of mystery stories and spy thrillers and many a metaphysical mind-bender. These stories, just like jokes, are better or worse depending on how hard or easy it is to predict their final twist.

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