How To Engage The Reader

A lot of the trouble with storytelling is telling it in a way that keeps the pages turning. There’s certain things that you can and cannot control, but hopefully this list will include things you can improve upon along with the things that you can keep in mind and hope translate to the reader.

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Choose Themes You’re Passionate About

Readers see right through an author who explores a theme that they don’t care about. They also feel the passion in writing when the author clearly cares a great deal about sharing their perspective and spreading a message. If you’re going to write a book or a series, it’s important to emphasize thematic subtext that you geniunely think is important enough to share with all of your readers.

Don’t Try to Please Everyone

It’s very obvious to any reader when an author includes a character or a theme in a story just to pander to their audience or demographic. A good example of this is when JK Rowling told her fans that Dumbledore was gay years after the series had ended and after the majority of her demographic came out to support the LGBT community. Though it was after the fact, it’s the same situation. I’m sure she actually does support the LGBT, but that was pure audience pandering and she lost a lot of respect for that. Don’t be that kind of author. It ruins your credibility and calls your intentions into question with all of the themes you explore.

Include Diverse Characters and Situations

Nothing is more boring to a reader than a story they’ve heard the same way a thousand times before, full of boring, two-dimensional characters that are all exactly alike. Include characters of all backgrounds, experiences, and archetypes. Create engaging scenes in interesting places with unusual premises and exciting characters doing unexpected things in several ways.

Fine Tune Your Tone

It’s a tried and true technique in any type of writing that in order to keep the reader’s attention, you need to be intentional with the tone of your scenes. Keep things moving, manipulate the pace to deliver the desired emotion, and choose words/sentence structure that activates the right response from the reader’s mind. The general rule of thumb is that the tone should shift between scenes. Short sentences are more energetic while long sentences create a calm cadence. Words full of vowels are more pleasing and soothing while words full of consonants are choppier and more alarming.

Plant Juicy Questions In Their Head

Let your reader witness only a piece of a private conversation that hints to information that they don’t know, which could completely change the core conflict. This doesn’t mean a plot twist. This means you need to tease them sometimes. You must give them a taste of what could be so that they stay tuned to find out if it comes to fruition. Make it look like the two characters with a little bit of chemistry but no apparent relationship have a secret rendezvous occurring, and then wait 2 or 3 chapters to reveal that they were talking about something completely different.

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