Friday, October 21, 2016

3 Essentials in Writing a Page Turner

Everyone wants to be that author -- the one readers are clamoring to read. How does that happen, though? How do you become that author, with tribes of loyal natives willing to trek barefoot through jungles to buy your next book?

Easy. Write a page turner and they'll come back for more.

Okay, so maybe it's not that easy. Penning a riveting story is hard work, but there are a few key ingredients you can add to make the outcome more tantalizing to a reader . . .

Escalation

Do This: Intensify the story stakes.
Not That: Make life too easy for your characters.

You've got to torture your characters. Your hero has to go from sweet-mercy, to dang-it, to oh-my-freaking-stars-I'm-going-to-die. Think of your story as a journey, uphill, both ways, with the climax at the tippy top. Your characters have to work hard to overcome struggles in order to gain the readers respect, and those struggles need to be something more intense than a chipped nail.

Example: In The Captive Heart, heroine Eleanor goes from losing her job, to losing her freedom, to nearly losing her life.

Cliffhangers

Do This: End every scene with a gasp.
Not That: Make it easy for a reader to put down the book.

Don't just dangle a readerly carrot at the end of each scene. Dangle a piece of turtle cheesecake. You always want to end a scene or a chapter with a huge unanswered question, that way your reader just has to flip the page and find out the answer.

Example: In The Captive Heart, every scene ends with an OMG moment, such as Eleanor facing a charging rogue bear.

Secrets

Do This: Have your characters hold on to secrets.
Not That: Make your characters blab everything up front.

Everyone loves a juicy secret. Readers especially. Resist the urge to spill all the beans at the beginning of the story. Dole out background crumbs, hints at what the character has in his past, but don't do the big reveal until the climax.

Example: In (you guessed it) The Captive Heart, hero Samuel hides the fact that his grandmother is a full-blooded Cherokee.

Entice your reader by using these 3 tricks and you will be that author.

2 comments:

Robin Mason said...

and this, my dear, has finally triggered my brain to reveal the conflict in each of the (4) books in my next series!!! well done, Michelle, well done!!

chappydebbie said...

The Captive Heart is an excellent example of this....definitely a page turner. SO GOOD!

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