So you have uploaded your latest page, and it's one of your best.
The story is at a point where the suspense is cranking up to eleven. The plot thickens. Everyone wonders what is going to happen next…
…and then that one fan GETS IT RIGHT. Right there in the comment section!
What do you do?
Whatever you do, DON'T change your plot simply to make it so your webcomic's fan guessed wrong after all. If your plot has a logical and well-built sequence of events, no matter how typically unpredictable, and if you have set up that sequence properly with foreshadowing or cues or clues to what is going on, there WILL be someone who picks up on them and gets it before the reveal.
And that's good. Frustrating as it may be, it's a sign that the plot is well made. It is bad writing to make it impossible for your readers/audience to predict what will happen by simply not buiding up the ‘reveal’ and not giving any clues as to what it may be. And when the reveal happens it doesn't feel earned even if the audience doesn't realize the purposeful omission of substantial buildup.
And yes, there are the stories where a lot of well-worn tropes are used and people can foresee the outcome due to that. But if you do decide to do a story like that and write the tropes straight then you're not going for suspense and people predicting what is going to happen shouldn't be a concern. If it IS a concern, you most likely won't rely solely on tropes or their subversions to build your plot.
So, you have built a genuinely suspenseful story, the Fan That Guesses Right has written out the outcome in the comments, and now you have to handle it somehow (especially if you are in the habit of replying to comments). What would be the way to do it?
The easiest route in my opinion would be to simply reply with “we'll see!” in ALL predictions made in the comments or any theories suggested by the fans. That way it won't be obvious if someone has it right until the reveal, so suspense isn't actually lost. The Fan That Guessed It will simply have bragging rights that they did.
Alternatively, if it's really eating you up that the reveal is there in the comments, you could privately ask the Fan That Guessed It to remove/edit their comment because that's actually correct. I wouldn't go delete it without explanation though, because that would be rude and unfair, possibly making that oh-so-clever-and-dedicated fan who pays attention feel pushed away.
How do you handle it when your readers guess correctly? Have they ever?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 28, 2021
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