Recurrance in Storytelling

Here we go,
From The Solune Prince, Draft 3.

Chapter 1

Chloe jumped as the metal latch behind her clanged then stopped, dropping back into place. Whoever it was at the door paused and thought better than to walk in.

Then a knock rang out through the heavy wood.

“Speak,” She said, almost failing to hide her excited, anxious nerves.

“Your sister is looking for you,” a muffled but familiar voice said.

“I told you not to give messages through the door.” Rhye turned to look behind her as she called out, then added, “Enter.”

It was not the maiden’s fault, Chloe knew, but she still disdained being interrupted. She stood and put the rest of her hair up.

Finally, the latch clicked open, and a light-brown haired woman of medium height stepped in. She was Chloe’s maid, a girl recently out of adolescence who had been around long enough to understand the basics of her duties and develop some competencies.

She gave a careful and slight bow, then repeated her message. “You said to notify you when your sister returned?” She spoke softly. “She is here now, heading to her room.”

Chapter ~25*

There was a knock on the heavy wooden door. It made Chloe jump.

Chloe and her mother, Gwenhime, the monarch’s wife, sat in her small office. It was from here that the noblewoman had been running the administration of the kingdom these last few months. They could both hear, beyond the door and its knocker, excited voices in the anteroom.

Gwenhime said, “Speak,” and asked who was there.

Muffled words through the door. Chloe was curious about what all the commotion outside is, then, hearing the muffled voice, she she gets a weird sensation, and realizes who’s knocking.

Chloe smiles. “Fenna! I told you not to give messages through the door!”

Fenna steps inside, bowing slightly, and delivers her announcement. “Umm…Kent has arrived!” … “He’s right here in the ante-room!”

*Exact number not yet allocated, project is still in planning.


There is some degree of satisfaction in seeing a scene recur. Here, it is also natural. A character’s mistake, rather than some sort of destined cosmic pattern. But why is a recurrence satisfying at all?

I have a couple of ideas. Let’s explore.

Something Familiar

The first is that it is natural. We are creatures of habit, and there’s something satisfying about repetition if it’s done correctly. Consider the opening song of a television show, or the chorus in a song.

In this example, it’s a repeated mistake, something many can relate to. A lapse in etiquette, a character who is new to this world of nobility, and no doubt a little intimidated by it.


The second reason such scenes are satisfying is because of something very interesting—audience engagement. It causes, or allows, a reader to actively recall in earlier part of the book.

Who knows, maybe it might even make your art more memorable as a result.

Closing the Loop

Perhaps the best thing a person can try to do with this technique is to use it to show some sort of character progress. Perhaps the third time, Fenna knocks and then enters first before trying to talk through a heavy wooden door.

I hope you enjoyed this exploration. Maybe you can use it yourself, or if you’re not a writer, you’ll notice it better if you encounter it in the wild.

Thanks for reading,
Daniel Triumph.

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