I have a problem. I love to read. Of course my problem isn’t reading, it’s finding the time to read without the guilt. I try to maintain a balance of work, family and writing by reading at night.
There are times when a couple of pages turn into a much needed double dose of caffeine the next morning because I couldn’t put the book down. I love those times. A page-turner is the type of book I prefer to read and some of us strive to write.
Despite the strict guidelines in the world of publishing, not all books are created equal. Sometimes I reach the end of the first chapter, put the book down and forget to pick it back up. I intend to finish the book, but my reading time is too limited to spend on a book that doesn’t grab my attention and keep me reading.
If you’re a writer, how do you keep the reader from falling into a valium induced coma while reading your book? I’ve come up with a few ways, perhaps you can add to the list.
1. Don’t forget the hook. I want something to hit me in the face on that first page. Give me some action or a telling secret so I’ll keep turning the pages.
2. Don’t start with dialogue because I get confused. Who is this person talking and why should I care what they have to say?
3. Don’t confuse me by introducing too many characters in the first chapter. I want the spotlight to be on the main character(s) from the start.
4. Don’t make me frustrated by beginning the book with a puzzle or in the middle of a situation. I don’t want to be scratching my head on the first page wondering what is going on.
5. Don’t make me feel like I’ve read the book before by using a clichéd plot line or character.
Am I asking too much?