Monday, 27 October 2014

How to Grab Your Reader's Heart with Emotional Scenes

Fleshing out characters, outlining physical descriptions and backstory that may or may not be used, picking locations, revising and editing, and choosing the perfect formats are all important aspects that are involved in creating a great story. But, after that is all complete and your hard work is placed into readers’ hands, it is up to them to decide if they want to look past its cover and add it to their reading lists.

It’s up to the author to make a reader want more. 

In order for a story to catch on, to draw the reader in, an author must find a way to write with an immersive quality. If you ask someone why they love their favorite book, do they ever say it’s because the author wrote a great follow-up? Gave them a signed copy? Was it a good idea poorly executed?

It only takes a sentence to break the flow in a story. One misused word has the ability to break the flow of a story, and sometimes, if it is blatant enough, the reader won’t return to finish. For multi-book authors especially, they not only lose possible word-of-mouth marketing and the prospect of this reader picking up other titles they’ve penned, they run the risk of negative reviews by publishing ill-rounded stories for public consumption.

So what can you do to keep a reader hooked?

By making a reader care about characters and their problems—giving the reader something they can relate to or fantasize about—an author can rest knowing that one or two slips will not cause a huge drop in readership. That’s not to say you shouldn’t put out the best book you are capable of creating, of course, but nobody is perfect. Some of the main immersive qualities that keep readers turning pages are the author's ability to produce a unique voice, a pace that fluctuates while still remaining fluid enough so as not to jar the reader out of story, and its believability. By no means is this ALL there is—you can have a great story with mediocre characters that lack depth, or great characters and no story. For now, I aim to confront the believability, or at least one aspect of this concept: emotions.

If you ever listen to someone while they are upset, sad, or afraid, you’ll notice that their voice changes in direct correlation to how they feel. People who throw five six-syllable words together for a ten-word sentence suddenly speak as though they haven't graduated into a two syllable vocabulary. Some people stutter, raise their voice, or even speak so fast that nobody can figure out what it is they are saying. It all depends on the situation and the person. But it isn't often that there will be forty-word sentences in an emotional scene, or purple prose spouting the beauty of a scene as though describing every petal of a rose.

Next week, Sasha will share 8 helpful tips that will help you grab your reader's heart.

By Sasha Leigh
Sasha Leigh is a self-diagnosed dreamer. When she isn't stuck in worlds of her own making, listening to characters squabble for attention in her head, she's immersed in stories created by others. A lover of all things "weird", Sasha's world is considered complete when she has her daughter at her side, her sketchpad, notebook, and something to write with - even if it's just a piece of chalk. Working by day in the insurance industry, she spends her evenings and weekends devouring or writing new tales of magic, mythology, and all things supernatural (except dragons).

Check out her newly-released book, Fate's Return.

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