Capturing the reader


#1

What specific methods do you employ to capture the reader and keep them interested?

What about someone who does not read very well?


#2

Focus on specific parts, turn them to the best.

Once I tried to include all kinds of thing to accommodate as many audiences as possible. But that was a bad decision. The work bloats out significantly, my progress is nonexistent, and the old-cooler ideas got to be trimmed down to fit into that “broad audience.”

Don’t be like the old me.


What I’m trying to say is basically, “you can’t please everyone.”

As to maintaining the readers’ interest, that entirely depends on your story and how you write it.


#3

Sometimes having the reader make a difficult choice, or making sure their choices matter or affect the story greatly can keep them engaged. Adding a little mystery, and perhaps hinting at certain things, but not outright saying it. Rewarding the player for thinking outside of the box. Also the traditional…things get more intense until it reaches a climax is good. Making sure the pace is fluid and occasionally throwing in a twist never hurts.

For someone who doesn’t read very well, I found that a very long page they tend to skip. Make sure you have appropriate page breaks. You could even add images to further increase a point or get the reader into the mindset of the character. I personally like using dialogue options to keep the reader engaged.


#4

I tell them my work is better than Bestselling Novel XYZ. Usually I’m not lying.


#5

Achtungnight - That is a very confident angle.


#6

It seems effective. You got my interest.


#7

Nets, usually. One of the methods least likely to impair their ability to read. You’d think you just have to keep an eyeball intact, which seems pretty straightforward, but actually, concussions are surprisingly easy to inflict and will take them right out of your story.


#8

When I think of all the energy I wasted, restraining myself from answering “with a lasso, obviously”…

Real answer: my writing is kinda niche, because my interests are kinda niche, too. I capture my readers by letting them know that I’m “their people” as it were. Legitimate marketing professionals (of which I am not one) call this “maintaining a clear brand”. That’s why Kameron Hurley marketed her novel The Stars Are Legion by issuing a printable dust jacket of the book’s cover, except with the title Lesbians in Space. She knows what her readers want.

It’s also why GRR Martin did an interview where, when asked what profession other than his own he would like to attempt, he answered wedding planner. Because the GRRM brand is “I will kill your favorite character and make you like it”.


#9

My personal method to capture the reader: use evocative language. The trees shake with fury. An anguished cry shatters the silence. Stuff like that. Be terse during dramatic moments. But when the drama is over, expand your prose, let both the work and your audience breathe a bit before pulling them back into the action.

Obviously, everyone has something that works for them. This just happens to work for me.