Because Asunder stories are dispersed in space, they are also dispersed in time. (It will take the audience a bit to reach their next location, after all.) Breaking up your story into discrete parts is not dissimilar to a serialized novel in this regard. We know that sounds so very Victorian, but check it:
In much the same way, Asunder seeks to re-introduce anticipation and delayed gratification to storytelling. It makes every beacon, every chapter, and every plot point an event for the audience. Your challenge is to entice your audience on, shepherd them to the next story location, and leave them wanting more.
Getting your audience to follow your story journey is no small feat. But fear not! Here are some tried-and-true ways to coax an audience back for more:
Be Excellent Early. This seems obvious, but it is of the utmost importance. The quality of the first segment is what will propel us to keep reading. Is the dialogue interesting, the plot explosive? Does it make puppies cuter and hobos more attractive? Great!
Fuck Their Eyeballs. That’s right. Fuck their eyeballs. Consider your first Asunder story section akin to a band’s first single. The first segment should be shocking, new, outré, innovative. Here’s where you put your brightest tracks, your wittiest repartee, your sharpest narrative hook. In short, hold nothing back. Shock and awe is a great way hook listeners.
Use Cliffhangers Liberally. Take a page from old radio and current television. When your protagonist is in dire straights, with the enemy closing in, what do you do? Why, end the segment of course. Your audience must “tune-in” to the next beacon to find out what happens next!
Recap, Recap, Recap. A short recap on the previous section’s cliffhanger is essential to keeping your audience up to date. Remember that it could be quite some time before your audience makes it to the next beacon location.
Always Be Closing. In the course of your narrative, small foreshadowing can bring great gains. By alluding to future events, the reader becomes curious and wants to stick around to see them play out. To paraphrase Chekov, “A gun on stage in the first act must go off by the third.” Your audience wants to see that gun go off! They will follow you to the next stage to see it. Sell them the next segment as you present the current one.
Easter Eggs. Adding little secrets to your story is a powerful technique to encourage story completion. For example, give the audience an image fragment or a small snippet of a song. As the audience “completes” each section, another piece of the puzzle is presented until the full form is revealed.