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We all want readers to love our story, to not be able to put them down until the last page is read, and then having our readers want more. Sue Coletta over at Writer’s Village shares with us ways we can accomplish this goal. What is your favorite writing tip to keep your readers hooked?
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Ten Clever Ways To Keep Your Reader Enthralled
We all know how to inject pace into our stories, don’t we? Just drop in a lot of exciting moments and space them with ‘scene hangers’. ‘Little did I know that my life was about to change forever’, and the like.
But hangers are clichés. Sure, they’re useful but not right for every story.
So what else can we do to keep the reader enthralled? Turning our every page? And wholly immersed in our story?
Top crime suspense writer Sue Coletta reveals ten tricks of the trade. We can adapt them to any genre!
1. Language itself is the subtlest means of pacing.
Throw away those passive expressions. ‘His head was hit by something sharp and cold.’ Yawn...
Think concrete words.
Concrete words are nouns that we experience through our senses. Example: smoke, mist, iceberg. Use active voice plus sensory information that’s artfully embedded. If you write long, involved paragraphs, try breaking them up into shorter ones.
‘Hail pounded his head. Icy water down his spine. He drew his collar round his throat and shivered.’
Drop in lots of white space.
Fragments, staccato sentences, and short paragraphs quicken the pace. They also give the page visual texture. At a glance, it looks interesting.
Crisp, punchy verbs, especially those with onomatopoeia, add a lot of tension to a scene. Onomatopoeia? It’s the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. Example: sizzle, crash, scamper, lunge. ‘The steak sizzled on the grill.’
Examples of staccato sentences are: ‘She froze.’ ‘He paused.’
At a moment of tension, why say more?
A sentence fragment might be: ‘Deliberate.’ ‘Intentional.’ ‘Dangerous.’ For example: ‘The pit bull growled at me. Dangerous.’
The reader can easily digest one or two word sentences so they speed up our pacing.
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