October 22, 2019

Do Your Readers Turn Your Pages?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine   

What do you think would grip your reader to make them want to turn the pages of your book?

Perhaps to a writer that may seem like a funny question.  But you see readers want to open a book and meet a character (person), your protagonist, and they want to come to identify with that character quickly. The more they care about the character the more they care about what happens to this character.

They are not going to put this book down until they make sure this character survives physically and emotionally. They truly want this character to meet their goals and secure happiness. In other words, they have become invested in your protagonists.

You might want to ask yourself is your character genuine. Are they reliable? Are they convincing? Gripping? Fascinating?

The more your character is developed the greater pull he/she has for your reader. Emotions become real and you can feel them.

I want to add, readers prefer the character to be active. In other words, full of life, energetic and involved.

Think of characters in stories you’ve read . . . which ones grabbed your attention? The ones who were active or the ones who were docile––inert?

Ernest Hemingway said, “When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

Perhaps as writers this is what we should work towards––turning our character into a person for our readers.

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