This week’s video offers some pointers for avoiding dead-end events in your stories.
The term “episodic” is very rarely going to be a compliment when used in reference to a novel. What it usually indicates is a herky-jerkiness to the plot, a lack of cohesion, and an overall story arc that doesn’t pull together into a concerted theme. Not exactly what most of us are striving for. What we want is for the plot, the theme, and all the character arcs to come seamlessly together and present a unified overall impression.
One of the ways we fail to accomplish that is by creating dead-end events. Every moment in a story should matter to the overall plot. One scene needs to affect the scene that follows. If you build up to a particular event, only to have it fall flat and end up mattering not at all, you’re essentially creating “episodes,” which, of course, are going to lend themselves to this general feeling that the story as a whole is episodic.