6 Tools to Keep Your Reader's Attention
By batteredhope on July 20, 2014
Want to keep your reader's attention? Here are a few tips to insure that happens. All of us wrote essays in school. Many of us took various forms of creative writing classes. Most of us like to write and all of us would like to improve. If you want to write, there is an abundance of information available to help you.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. The crazy thing is, I did my research about creative writing after I published my memoir last year. I certainly do NOT recommended it but I was totally unaware of the help available in blogosphere before I had completed the book. I was terrified when I started reading all the blogs about what to do and what not to do. I imagined I had done everything wrong and was more than shocked when I discovered that almost all the advice that was given, I had done. I had applied common sense, one of our senses that has our best interest at heart!
IS COMMON SENSE COMMON?
2. The point is…..I used common sense. Common sense told me this: Anybody can write, but you want to make sure people will want to read it. Let’s look at some of the things we can learn by using common sense.
3. The first sentence, the first paragraph and definitely the first chapter has to grab the reader’s attention. If you lose your reader in the first chapter, which is usually available on most eBook sites, then they will not buy your book. I rewrote my first chapter a dozen times and then my daughter told me it needed to be redone. A slight, but needed, slap in the face to wake me up. I rewrote it, along with the rest of the book, at least three times. Can any of you relate?
I have always liked John Grisham’s style of writing and decided to write my memoir as a mystery novel. Then, I was introduced to Harlen Coben and absolutely loved his style– read all his books. Intertwining humor with mystery was definitely going to be my style. It is important to find a style you like and stick with it.
I have read some beautiful stories or books with a powerful message but are written so poorly, you only remember that fact, rather than the story itself.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT
4. One of the keys to remember is CLARITY BRINGS COMPREHENSION. If you are not clear, it will not be comprehended by those who read it. Many blogs I read, I do not get past the first paragraph. Very often, they are written with run-on sentences, poor grammar, misspelled words or so wordy that they are difficult to follow. The author may know exactly what they are speaking about, but not portraying their thoughts distinctly. Less is more!
K. I .S. S.
5. Outside of technical articles, it is more important to keep it simple, rather than complex. You are not in a competition to see how many astronomic words you can use. No matter what you are writing about, your motive is to advise, give an important message or to entertain. When you have to reread a paragraph more than once to figure out what the author is trying to say, you will lose interest quickly.
6. Another obvious problem is many people write without proofreading, doing a spell check, or reading it through the eyes of someone else. Even writing a letter to family or friends, it is important to let it rest for awhile and come back and read it from another perspective. You might be surprised to see it was not as lucid as you may have thought.
After having two editors proof my book, there were still a few errors when it went to print. You can never proof it enough. When you don’t, it is obvious to the reader that you don’t care enough to make your point clear and concise. It will make you appear rushed when you wrote it. And….. you lose them.
All of us are experts in the area of knowing what we like to read and what makes us want to read more. So, if we know what we like, than apply that to your composition. It will open a whole new world to both you and your reader.
THE PROOF IS IN THE......
After all the hard work and endless hours of revision, the greatest reward is reading all the reviews shouting your praises – not necessarily expected but definitely appreciated.
And the most important of all.....
This journey of educating ourselves is never ending and the more we learn the more we realize what little we know. What obstacles have you overcome? What advice can you give to the new writer?
Photo courtesy of commonswikimedia.org
Author of Battered Hope, Health Coach and Inspirational Speaker