Monday, October 7, 2013

What Do Readers Want?

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?

Photo Credit:  svilen001


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. being engaged with the story all the way through - anything I read must catch my attention ..

Essential for an author of any work .. cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

I agree with your list! I recently read a few stories that swirled round about in my head for days.

Karen :)

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Susan. I love an unexpected twist in a plot or an unexpected ending. A skillful writer knows exactly where to place a twist, and the reader never sees it coming.


JD said...

Hi, Susan:

A must for me in any good story is that at least one of the characters be someone I'd root for. That character has to be more good than bad, and generally act with integrity or be willing to grow in integrity. I've read well-written stories where I've found myself not cheering for anyone because all of the characters were so rotten. That made me lose interest in the stories and put the books down.

In contrast, I recently read The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and developed a crush on one of the main characters! Lol. Now THAT is crafting a character someone can root for!

Happy Friday tomorrow!