Writing that give readers something to do

Not physically of course. But don?t forget reading isn?t just using your eyes. Your brain is already racing ahead of you. As it takes in the information, it?s already trying to work out what?s going on. What?s likely to happen next. Or why. Or why on earth a certain character is behaving in that way.

While most of us think of reading as a way of switching off, there still has to be something to stimulate our thought processes. To get us involved enough to care about the outcome. Otherwise it?d be so deadly dull we?d be asleep in no time.

There has to be questions for the reader to ponder over. Would they do the same thing? Do they agree with that viewpoint or does it make their blood boil? Not so obvious that they feel as if they?re taking part in some kind of opinion poll. But subtly enough to draw them in and want to know more.

Which of course is what all good stories aim for. Who doesn?t want someone waiting with bated breath for the next instalment? Many dramas on TV rely on the cliff-hanger to get viewers coming back for more. You want the same anticipation from your readers. That moment when they simply must keep turning the page. When they just have to read the next chapter before they go to bed.

Not something they?ll bother to do if their brain has already worked out where it?s all going. And worse, how it will obviously end. You have to leave them with a certain amount of doubt to keep them intrigued. Even the most popular authors still have to deliver the goods. If they become so predictable with each new book they won?t keep their loyal readers for long. There?s too much competition for one thing.

It?s all very well liking someone?s style of writing. Or even their subject matter. But if they?ve nothing new or interesting to say what?s the point of churning out more of the same? A good story evolves over a period of time.

If they?re told everything in the first chapter there?ll be nothing left to keep them reading it. Subtlety and drip feeding information a bit at a time is what makes someone want to know what happens next. Or care which is just as important. In other words don?t give it all to them at once. Make them work for it.

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