They want to be immersed in new worlds. They enjoy the rhythm and vividness of words. Problems and conflicts also grab their attention. The more difficult the problem, the greater the hold the story has over them.
Are you writing for everyone? Half your audience are men, and the other half are women. Isn’t that too general? Too vague. The whole world reading your book. Is it believable?
Pick one person you know and write for them. When we were at school, we wrote for teachers who marked our work. Who was your favourite teacher? Or write wholly for an imaginary friend with similar tastes.
You are the director, not an actor in your story. Keep your story visible on stage and yourself quiet. You are the conduit through which the story is told. People aren’t buying you; they’re buying the story. You want your story to become their story.
There are no rules out there, but there are sins, and the cardinal sin is boredom. Robert McKee
Authority rests with the reader. They have total control over your story. They control when they start to read and when they stop. You cannot force them to do anything. This is their choice, and they exercise their authority when they put a book down.
Why did they stop reading? Possibly we grew enchanted with our powers of description and failed to keep the ball rolling. Characterisation, theme, mood; none of these stand for anything if the story is dull. If the story grabs the reader, all else can be forgiven.
Make things clear, don’t over explain. Let the reader work things out for themselves. Explaining can reduce the idea and make it smaller.
Make the character somehow out of the ordinary. She may wear the mask of the common woman, but underneath this mask lies a true hero.
As long as the character wants something, the reader will want it too. As long as the character is attempting to get something, the reader will wonder whether or not he’s going to succeed. Few things are more intriguing than the desire to succeed against impossible odds.
You may not love your characters but you do have to defend them. Our characters arise out of our need for them.
Always look for something you can identify with in each of your characters, good or bad. Always look for something honest. And then, once you have the perfect cast, the story will virtually write itself. Now the most important work is done and the fun can start.
It's time to play.
Ideas can come at any time, anywhere. They are inspired by the world around us. Usually, they happen at the most inconvenient time, like when you are out jogging in the park or drinking champagne at a party or shopping in the supermarket with a kid hanging off the trolley.
Develop the habit of writing down your ideas. Most ideas will disappear in three seconds. Hold on to them while you get your small notebook out of your pocket.
Use your obsessions, infatuations, and confusions in your writing. What interests you?
Write a list of all the things you believe and those things you don’t. Once you know this, you will know where to look to find your stories.
Writing should never be an obligation. Let it be your passion. If you are passionate about your stories, you can live with them as the months roll by and the seasons turn from autumn into spring and through summer to autumn again. Sometimes it takes years to write a story. Be a long-distance runner. Be prepared for the long haul.
There will be times when you lose interest in your story. It will be like falling out of love. Divorce yourself from the idea. Take what you can. Chairs, sofas, tables - scenes, descriptions, characters. Put these in a folder and move on. You never know. Someday in the future, these might become useful again.