Paula looks at how to keep readers reading.
We all know how important it is to have a good opening to draw
the reader into your story, but how do we keep them reading?
what I think (in no particular order, just my take on what keeps ME reading a
dump all the backstory in one lump, tease your readers with part-revelations,
not obscure enough to frustrate, but intriguing enough to make them want to
find out more.
introduce too many characters too quickly – readers can get confused (and
annoyed!) when they can’t work out who’s who and /or whether they are important
characters or not.
the story along. Don’t meander into irrelevant events or conversations.
your characters ones they can care about, empathise with, feel their emotions,
cry when they cry, smile when they’re happy.
sure your plot is realistic and not contrived.
go into excessive description – readers tend to skip it.
cliff-hangers i.e. page-turners. Your readers should want to know what happens
next (so that they think, maybe late at night, ‘Just one more chapter’). Some
of my reviewers have said they ‘couldn’t put it down’ which, to me, is one of
the best things people have said about my books. I love keeping people awake at
them wondering how the hero and heroine can ever get together for their ‘happy
ending’. They know this is going to happen but they need to be curious about how it will happen, when all seems lost.
finally, don’t hand a solution on a plate to your hero and heroine through some
contrivance or coincidence. The reader needs to know they’ve struggled against
the odds, overcome their problems, and, most satisfying of all, learnt
something about themselves and each other in the process.
please don’t have the hero and heroine hating each other all the way through
the story until the final chapter when they suddenly realise they love each
What would you add to this list?