Keeping Your Readers Reading

This is post isn’t so much about how to be original as it is about keeping your readers interested in your story, past the summary and first page or paragraph. As the title says, you must tell your story well. By this I mean: be descriptive, empathic, interesting and watch for mistakes. Otherwise, the majority of people will never finish it.

Much like cooking, a story must be well-crafted for readers to enjoy it and want to keep reading. Original or not, if a story is missing at least a decent level of descriptive detail the reader will lose interest as they can’t picture or lose themselves in the story. Your protagonist needs to be empathic enough so that your readers understand him or her and experience the story through their eyes. Being interesting means keeping your story balanced. This means knowing when to increase the pace, the action happening in the story, or decrease it, keeping your characters consistent, and the plot moving. These, along with proper grammar and spelling, are essential for a story.

Just like pizza, or any other food someone eats on a regular basis, it’s possible to tell an unoriginal story that it is still enjoyable and popular if it is well-written. After all, you don’t just eat one slice of pizza or a burger and never again. Like movies and TV shows, books can be enjoyed just as regularly. However, just remember like people don’t like eating bad food, they also don’t like reading bad stories.

Two excellent examples of authors that very prolific because they write well, and manage to be original, are Stephen King and R. L. Stine. Sure as professional and popular writers the publishing houses that sell their books have editors to make sure of all this. But, this doesn’t mean you hold yourself to a lower standard, because if anything you hold yourself to a higher one so that your work gets noticed. If you’re just starting out, try waiting a week after you finish you story to reread it yourself, or find a friend to read it and mark it up with corrections.

Remember reading is subjective. The only person who perfectly understands your story is you the author. Because as Stephen King has said, "writing is telepathy," meaning it is your job to translate that story into words that readers can understand and enjoy.

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Derek Glew

Derek Glew is a student at Algonquin College and is in the Professional Writing program. Aspires to be a professional fiction writer, likes to play video games both new and old and loves a good story in any form of media. A bit of an introverted dreamer, he hopes to be published someday.

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