The Ten Commandments of Writing and When to Break ThemWriting Conferences. We go. We listen. We obey. Maybe sometimes we obey too much.
My next few posts will be about when to break the writing commandments.
Thou Shalt Keep the Reader Wanting More
This is something I hear all the time, always keep the reader wanting more. And while that is true, many writers take it the wrong way.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
~Withholding information in an effort to create suspense. As a general rule, if your POV character knows something, so should the reader.
When a reader cares about your MC and the stakes are high without being contrived, that's suspense. Withholding information just frustrates a reader.
~EVERY chapter does NOT need to end in a cliffhanger. This starts to feel contrived and tires the reader. When techniques get overused they become cliche.
If you've done your job well, the reader will be invested enough in the story to want to read on to the next chapter.
~Don't leave the reader hanging. This happens a lot in multiple POV stories. A writer will leave one character in mortal peril, then switch to another POV of a character in a less stressful situation, presumably to keep the reader in suspense.
Readers are not that patient, in the end, they will skip ahead to see what happens to the character they are invested in at the moment of peril. That is a bad thing and needs to be fixed.
You have to constantly ask yourself what will readers want, and then deliver.
What are some other situations where writers take the need to have a page-turner the wrong way?