Keep Your Readers Engaged In Your Novels With One Simple Tip

Keep Your Readers Engaged In Your Novels With One Simple Tip

Keep Your Readers Engaged In Your Novels With One Simple Tip
Photo by Sam Greenhalgh

Keep Your Readers Engaged In Your Novels With One Simple Tip

Are you wondering how to keep your readers engaged in your novel?

Keeping readers engaged and entertained is a big concern for writers. We want readers to enjoy our work so much that they want to read everything we've written. And we want them to be a little disappointed when our new novels aren't published yet because it gives them something to look forward to.

So, how do we keep readers entertained?

Write with intention. 

The problem I see with a lot of beginning writers is that they tend to include more details than they need. Their scenes might be entertaining, but fail to advance the plot or build characterization. Or maybe a section of dialogue serves no valuable purpose. They'll add unimportant details that don't provide value to the plot. Or they'll use flowery language to describe the weather or the setting.

A big question we need to consider when writing a novel is: what details are necessary for the story?

"I try to leave out the parts people skip." Elmore Leonard

Some other questions include: what do readers actually want to read? What details do they really want to know?

Part of the answers will come from our particular writing style and reading preferences. Maybe we love reading novels that beautifully describe the setting. Or maybe we just want the bones and a little flesh added for effect.

Whatever your preference, each scene and section of dialogue must satisfy the plot and allow the story to move forward.

Every scene we write is a part of us, and we want it to be a part of the story, too. But not all scenes are appropriate, and not all scenes help move the story along.

For instance, long, drawn-out scenes, especially when it comes to dialogue, can slow down the story, causing readers to grow uninterested. To keep your readers engaged, you must get to the point quickly and keep the action going, creating red herrings where needed and placing clues strategically throughout the story.

So, as we write, we need to ask ourselves if each scene moves the story forward. If it doesn't, it needs to be removed.

Creating a new world with dynamic characters and plot lines is simple in the planning stage. But when it comes to the physical act of writing, it's often not as easy. But writers are always improving their craft. With each story we write and each book we read and each writing exercise we do, we're getting progressively better at writing. We're learning as we go and hopefully putting our new knowledge into practice so we can become better writers and storytellers.

Jody Calkins
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