In the first post of my four-part series, I introduced ANTS, my framework for helping storytellers make strategic choices that increase reader engagement. ANTS stands for the effects a storyteller should seek to cultivate in their story: attachment, novelty, tension, and satisfaction. Last time, I covered the basics of attachment. Now it’s time for a closer look at novelty.
Novelty comes in countless forms. It’s found in jokes that make us laugh, uncanny description that creeps us out, and deep characters that fascinate us. It holds up the monsters that scare us and the mysteries that fill us with awe. It’s so varied, I wouldn’t blame you for wondering how I could possibly classify all those elements as the same thing. But regardless of the form, novelty reveals itself by generating an early burst of interest that fades quickly with exposure. Jokes are never as funny after being retold a dozen times. Monsters aren’t as scary once we become familiar with them. Novelty is embodied by ideas that are new and unexpected.
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