In a good piece of writing, which brings you from Point A (a stellar beginning) to Point B (a kicker ending) the writer carries us along, dropping hints and clues, unfolding the storyline bit by bit, so we follow the narrative thread to an inevitable, yet surprising conclusion.
“The author is leaving a popcorn trail,” I tell my students.
“Is that a literary term?” one student asks.
Not exactly. I made it up or borrowed it from childhood tales in which the heroes are almost always prone to get lost in the forest, wandering somewhere amongst all the trees.


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