When’s the last time a book held you spellbound? I mean a real page turner? The kind that tells you in that seductive voice, “just one more page and you can go to bed.” You embrace the lie. Even though you see it for what it truly is you continue to read on turning page after supposedly last page. Or how many times have you fallen for this ruse– “Just finish this chapter and then you can go to sleep,”?
You finish the chapter and close the book. You pause and reopen the book, thumbing to where you left off. “Hmm” you say as you gently whisper the number of pages in the next chapter. “One, two, three, four…I have time for one more.” This parade of pages continues night after night until sleep deprivation causes loss of job, spouse, even the dog turns a deaf ear.
“Oh, had I only listened to my conscience when it wisely suggested sleep. It implored that nothing good could come from this. I didn’t listen and now I’ve lost it all.” Or could there be another reason– a covert operation–a conspiracy where authors plant subliminal messages in their books that, much like that little bunny and the bass drum, keep us going and going and going.
I think “not” to either scenario. What we have here is simply a well written novel that captures and holds you hostage until the last page and if it packs that one, two wallop you’ll find yourself fondly day-dreaming back to the nights when the crisp pages turned so fervently in your hand.
Now, let’s turn it around. You are the writer and not the reader of this “novel to end all novels” novel (three “novels” in one sentence?…pretty snazzy, eh?) The big question here is “how do you write such an instant classic?”…well…don’t look my way, I haven’t a clue. However, here are some of the things that I believe help me write a better story.
I immerse myself within the story and as I write, I try to portray each character from their expression’s to their mannerism’s and even how they speak or how they would sound in my mind’s ear as they deliver their lines. Would they rub their chin or shuffle their feet or squint shading their eyes? What are the surroundings like? The reader requires detail but not so much as to drone along with the description.
Beware of unnecessary lulls within the story line else your audience become bored. I like to write action into my stories and even though there are times when the story must slow down, I try to keep the reader on the edge of their seat more often than not. Grab your reader’s attention early, preferably in the first page and don’t let up until the last page and if necessary the back cover.
Just remember, keep it moving, keep it interesting, don’t be shy. Write yourself into impossible situations– for once you find the way out you will have realized some of your best work. If you find that any of this helpful, please let me know. I could use a few good tips myself.