Tag Archives: readers

How to keep the interest in your readers

A writer’s biggest desire is for their readers to keep reading the story until the very last page. The scariest thing? Readers losing interest somewhere in the middle of it.

What can you do to make your readers come back to your story after they put the book down for some reason? How do you keep them interested?

Keep the interest

The most common advice is to use cliffhangers.

A cliffhanger is a way to end your scene, where your character, usually the protagonist, is facing some sort of life or death situation. Something really dramatic. Is that good? Sure, especially if you are writing an action-adventure novel. In that case, it is perfect. Yet…

If it’s not the case, you may need to rethink that option.

They need to care

A good story touches the readers. They care about the characters and what happens to them. This is your main concern: to make them care.

The most important thing to make your readers care is the character itself . Bring them to life; your characters need goals, a life story, a personality!

After you build the right character, you can end the scene with it in trouble. There are also rules here. You must think of the right kind of trouble – the one that makes the reader somehow worry about the character. You need them eager to know how the character will get rid of the issue.

No one cares if the laziest guy in the office is fired. However, if it’s someone who really makes an effort, or desperately needs their income, it’s more likely that your readers will turn the page to see what happens next. If you want to apply this idea to the villain, it is also possible. Imagine the lazy guy being promoted. Your readers will probably be furious and want to see how far he can go with it.

The character in question doesn’t need to be the protagonist. There are more characters in your book, and their depth is also a good quality mark for your readers. A perfect protagonist surrounded by a bunch of flat characters doesn’t make a good story.

Another way of keeping the interest is to end a scene with your point-of-view character making a decision that might go very badly. He’s facing a difficult situation and decides to take a risk. It has everything to go wrong but still… If it works, it will change your character’s life totally. That’s something your reader will want to know how it ends.

You are also a reader

I can’t get enough of this advice. I don’t know a single author that isn’t also an avid reader. It is crucial to learn and to understand what works.

In the end, the most important is the reader. So, if you still have any doubts about your choices, just put yourself into their shoes. What makes you turn the page?

The First Page

You have a masterpiece in hand. You wrote it for months on end, maybe even years, and now you’re super excited about getting your work out there. However, you’re afraid… And you should be.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your book is. If no one will read it, what’s the point, right? Just a tip: the first page is critical to the success of your book, so it must be impactful.


What makes people look at it?

Most people will open a book and read the first paragraph, maybe the full first page if you’re lucky. You have to use it in your favor.

When you open a book, you usually want to know what the story is about and how it’ll be told. So, the first page has to do exactly that. You can’t tell the whole story, obviously, what you should do is lead your readers to peek through a window and catch a glimpse of your story, get a slight idea for what’s going on and become curious. If they want to enter the place, you’ve done a good job.

A novel’s first page has many functions

The first page has to make your reader curious enough to keep on reading, and for that, they need two essential pieces of information: who the protagonist is and what the conflict is about. So, you need to relay this information, without revealing too much and make a good impression.

The protagonist entrance should, most of the time, be done here and should be memorable. Something about him or her has to have an impact on your readers. As a writer, you have to keep in mind, that whatever you choose to show, is critical for the impact the rest of the book will have and the way your readers will look at the story.

So, you should put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think of what would be really annoying on a first page. Then, try your hardest to avoid doing any of the things that would lead to you writing a similar thing! The first situation to have happen in your novel must be interesting enough to make them want to move onwards to page 2.

So, you should give some context to your readers. Don’t need to tell everything, just enough to make them curious. A novel is about conflict, they should have some clue in the first page as to build a notion of that conflict, through action, dialogue or interior monologue, but it must say “there is something here that might go wrong…”

An action-filled scene suddenly interrupted by another one where, someone, somewhere, somehow related to the protagonist present on the first scene, is calm and peaceful, doing something that apparently has nothing to do with the first scene, might do the trick. “What is happening here?” is the question you want your readers to ask themselves so they keep turning the pages. Meanwhile, they’re creating a movie in their heads, brimming with possibilities. You must feed that movie carefully, not too quickly nor too slowly, so they keep reading.

What do you need for a good start?

You need to begin. The start of it all. This is always the most complicated part of a project, no matter which one we’re talking about. In case of a book, the beginning doesn’t need to be the first thing to write, never let yourself forget that. Just write your story, make it as perfect as you can and eventually you’ll find a great beginning to your tale. I assure you that makes things easier.

Another common mistake that leads the writers in the wrong direction is thinking of the beginning of a story as an introduction to it. It doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. The reader doesn’t need to know everything on the first page, just enough to make them curious enough to explore more. You can choose an interesting point of the story and start there, without any explanation. You can start with a dialogue, a problem, a conflict… Think outside the box. Be creative! This will provide you with an undoubtedly interesting start to your amazing story.

What am I supposed to write?

Have you ever asked yourself if you should write about something or if it is a bad idea? That’s probably one of the major unanswered questions of every writer.

It’s complicated to decide on what you should write and how to go about it. If sometimes you have some sort of inspiration, at other times, you might sit down in front of your computer (or any kind of blank page) and have no clue as to how to fill it up.

There is no simple answer to this question though. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since you need to keep in mind your particular audience and its characteristics or traits.

Genres

Each genre has a specific type of audience, that’s a fact. But, even more importantly, each genre tends to elicit some specific reaction out of its readers. Someone will choose your book by the feelings they believe they’ll achieve with it and that’s, for the most part, determined by the genre. So, you must know, really understand, the genre you choose and what people seek within books in that genre. Then proceed to write accordingly.

The story means what the reader wants it to mean

No matter what the story means to you, the reader will give it a significance of his own and you should take this into consideration. He or she will feel the story according to his or her life experiences and their own particular vision of the world.

Don’t worry. This is often a good thing! Your readers and their emotions will turn your words into something lively, filled with deeper meaning.

What should my major concerns be?

As was said before, the genre you write in makes all the difference, yet, there are some points you can take into consideration.

Characters should be deep and raise or elicit some feelings in your readers. Most of the readers want to feel as though the character could be a friend of theirs. So, it must be somehow realistic, making them feel like that particular character is indeed alive.

You should promote curiosity. The best book is the one you can’t seem to put down. Try to provoke that kind of situation within your story. Make your readers curious enough to the point they want, or even feel a need, to know what happens in the next page.

They often want to feel. Be attentive in your descriptions with the characters feelings and write it down filled with little details, so your readers can feel along with them. When reading a book, people like to be immersed in a new reality. You must make that worth it.

 

A book has within it something magical. The imagination is unique and when shared with other people it can give you something wonderful. Use it in your favor and attract your audience through something wild or unexpected.