"Three words for a writer: Make me care." -Buffy Andrews
I was looking over the chapters I have written in this book, wondering what I was missing. I knew there had to be something. That's when I realized, looking over the advice I've given, that you can have the best descriptions in the world, the most realistic characters, and the best grammar, yet still have disinterested readers.
How? Because you have to make the readers care. Care about your story, about your characters, about the end goal. In this chapter I don't want to just write about my own opinion, so I will take quotes and advice from successful authors (some you may have heard of, while some may be unknown) and expand on those. I will number them just for the sake of organization, but there is no important order or anything.
1. "I want the reader to turn the page and keep on turning until the end. This is accomplished only when the narrative moves steadily ahead, not when it comes to a weary standstill, overloaded by every item uncovered in the research." -Barbara Tuchman.
-In case you didn't catch what she was saying, the main word to look at would be "overloaded." Many times when we're writing on a topic that is new to us, we'll do research so we know what we're writing. Most of the time, it's pretty fascinating. That doesn't mean, however, that each chapter needs loads of information about the topic. Only what is relevant to the story. If the reader is interested majorly in that topic, they can do their own research.
This also applies to fantasy worlds or sci-fi stories, where you have created a lot of your own information. You may be wanting to share your genius ideas with the readers, but be careful! Too many info-dumps can send a reader running.
2. "Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." -Malcolm Gladwell.
-Did you notice what he said? Our books don't have to have some deep message convincing our readers to drastically change their own lives. Sometimes all it takes to draw in a reader is giving them the opportunity to see from somebody else's eyes, in somebody else's life.
3. "The first duty of a novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, travelling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone." -Donna Tartt
-She didn't say the first duty of a novelist was to have good grammar. Or a certain load of shocking plot twists. It was to entertain, and not just any people, the people who are sad and are looking to your book for comfort. The people with some time to kill and not expecting to fall so deeply in love with your writing.
4. "Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly." -Franz Kafka
-I love this quote...it brings us back to our starting place as a writer. It's not about the logic, or the editing, it's about spilling out or souls. And in case you had a hard time interpreting the line "don't edit your own soul according to the fashion," allow me to explain what that means to me. On this website, I have come across many, many talented young writers with beautiful writing. Do you know the writing that drew me in the most? The ones who seemed to write from their very souls, like the words were pouring out of them. Not the ones who were writing a certain genre because it was popular. I understand that writing different genres can be fun, but don't stop the words flowing out of your heart just because the fashion is something different. The readers will begin to care when they see that you care.
5. "No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The key to writing is...to write, not to think!"
-I'm not sure who said that, but I found the quote and that it perfectly worded what I have tried to say before. Write the first draft with your heart, and the rewrite with your head. Obviously a book must have some sense of logic and good grammar to get anywhere, but in the process of writing your first draft, that should hardly be your main priority. Writing with your heart and what you are feeling will affect the reader more than facts, numbers, and logic.
6. "Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." -E. L. Doctorow.
-This may seem a little strange or out of place, but I thought it fit because of the suggestion. Place your reader in the story. Don't just give them the facts, like "it was raining." Instead, place them in the rain, describe how it affects what's happening, what it feels like, how the character is reacting or counteracting it. Once they feel trapped in the rain as well, they will begin to care that the character is trapped.
Now maybe you weren't able to get anything out of this chapter, but it's my hope that all of you will. I know there is no concrete advice here or examples, but I was hoping to mainly use this chapter as inspiration to you all, and a simple reminder. It's not about the votes, or the technical aspects. Just make your readers care.
YOU ARE READING
Jessie's Tips for Better WritingRandom
I'll show you how to improve your story with just a few tips and exercises. Writing a novel can be confusing, especially if you're new to it. Even if you're a pro at writing, it still helps to be refreshed. This is my way to help you. Hopefully it...