Readers of fiction often complain that a book didn’t keep their interest, that the characters, story and/or writing just didn’t grab them. Today’s readers have shorter attention spans and so many more books to choose from. Most of them/us don’t have the time or patience for the lengthy descriptive passages, long, convoluted “literary” sentences, detailed technical explanations, author asides, soap-boxing, or the leisurely pacing of fiction of 100 years ago.
Besides, with TV, movies, and the internet, we don’t need most of the detailed descriptions of locations anymore, unlike early readers who’d perhaps never left their town, and had very few visual images of other locales to draw on. Ditto with detailed technical explanations – if readers want to know more, they can just Google the topic.
While you don’t want your story barreling along at a break-neck speed all the way through – that would be exhausting for the reader – you do want the pace to be generally brisk enough to keep the readers’ interest. As Elmore Leonard said, “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”
Here are some concrete techniques for accelerating your narrative style at strategic spots to create those tense, fast-paced scenes.
Sometimes I feel like I cannot be a real author since real authors have huge goals like 1,000 words every day. I’ve done this before, even developing the habit at times.
I feel envious when I hear of some writers, who top this lofty goal by writing several thousand words in a single day. I did that. Once.
But what about when life steps in? Continue reading →
Some authors say they don’t have time to read. That’s like a starving castaway saying he has no time to eat. You’re not that confused, are you?
But maybe you have a similar problem: You have no relationships with books outside your niche. For example, your write youth fantasy and read only youth fantasy. Why is this wrong? There’s a nasty word for families that have relationships only with themselves. Authors who only read their genre may fall into that same category.
Fire needs three things—fuel, heat, and oxygen. Without any of these, there is no fire.
Success is similar. It needs these three—time, motivation, and a plan.
Did you know that you could save over $8,000 for your child’s college by saving $1 each day starting at birth? Wow! Or if you invest $5,000/year for 10 years beginning at age 25, you could have over $600,000 by age 65. (Compare this to the $400,000 earned by investing $5,000 from age 35 to 60.)
I love telling people that I’m an author. It makes me feel like I’ve achieved something most people think is impossible. One question I get from almost everyone is: How do you find the time? Continue reading →
My hometown is Onekama, Michigan. But nobody knows how to say it, so many people have shirts that say “1,” making fun of tourists’ attempts at pronouncing it. (Get it? “one comma.”) But those who are from the place know the real pronunciation: “Oh-neh-ka-ma.”
When I read The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (which my wife often misnames The Horse and His Nephew), I was jealous of the Calormene civilization. Unlike our schools, where we learn how to use thesis statements, transitions, and references, they learn to tell stories. Wouldn’t that be heaven? Who actually reads essays anyways, beside teachers with their sick forms of punishment?