Authors are usually also avid readers. If we analyze what we like in a book and apply it to our writing, we'll produce something that will put our work at the top of readers' TBR piles.
As readers, we want the author to:
1) Grab our attention. Is this story interesting? Do we want to see what happens next?
2) Make us care. Are the characters people we'd want to know in real life? Do we relate to their dilemmas?
3) Move the story along. Setting and backstory have their place, but action propels the story forward.
4) Engage us in the process. This is especially important in the Mystery/Suspense genre. Get the wheels turning in the reader's head.
5) Give us a satisfying ending. Even in a series book, the author can tie up one or more storylines, while leaving a cliffhanger for the next book. Please, dear author, don't push me off the cliff. I loved Gone With The Wind - until the end. I felt cheated and angry that it left me dangling.
I know I'm fully engaged when I can't get the story out of my head even when I'm not actually reading it. The ultimate sign a story is good: When I'm concerned about the characters and catch myself praying for them. LOL!
Writers & Readers: What are the key elements to a great story for you as a reader?
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