I read a great deal, both published and yet-to-be published works. I continue to see the same issues that cause me to stop reading.
When it comes to reading, I have a short attention span; I think that is a good thing. Because of my need for a writer to pull me into a story, I have stopped reading many more novels than I have completed. Why?
I give any novel approximately 50 pages to get my interest; if after that many pages (about 20,000 words on average) I am not intrigued either by the character, the writing or the story-world (I read a great deal of fantasy), I’m gone. Adios. Bye-bye. So Long.
Perhaps I have tossed aside some very good books, but I stand by my decision. It is the writer’s job to interest me, and if they have not in an allotted amount of time and words, I figure they do not deserve my time or my interest. Some readers I know allow half that much when judging a novel, others twice as much, and some read a novel to the end even if they only have moderate interest—I do not have that kind of free time.
To illustrate my point and the importance of grabbing a reader . . .
What is a story? I cannot count how many times I have been asked that question or some variation. Reflecting on the question of what makes up a story, I think what the reader is asking is, Why do some stories remain with me and others drift away shortly after finishing?
I believe there are three main points, topics, or instances required within each story, and without any one of them the story fails to entice the imagination of the reader:
Should any three be removed, a story cannot be satisfying. Of course, there is more to a story than that, but those three items must be at the heart of every story if the story is to succeed. To expound on What Makes a Story . . .
Enough for now . . . Go Write,
This Week’s Writing Quote: In Memory
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” Terry Pratchett
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