How do you make a story more exciting and addictive?

ehnlee:

Hmm, it’s hard to narrow this down to a comprehensive list, but it is worth knowing that these two qualities in a story come from the editing, and might not be present – or even very obvious – in a first draft. So make sure you have something to work with before you start worrying too much about it.

Otherwise, here are some tips to help with your question: how to make a story more exciting and addictive!

Pacing

The key to pacing is all in the reveal of what you want the reader to see, know, and feel in that precise moment.

If you feel like your story is ‘boring’, consider how you are pacing the action. Do you spend ages in the beginning, building up to the inciting incident? Do you interrupt action scenes to slow down and describe setting or character detail too frequently?

It’s all about balance – make sure you keep things moving at a good rhythm.

Get the Reader to Relate

The reason some books do better than others is because they adhere to a trend, or explore issues that currently affect their contemporary readers. Think about what kind of books are out right now in their respective genres, or even just think about your favourite books, and what it is about them that you love so much.

Readers love being able to relate to characters and themes in the literature they pick up. Consider the kind of themes and messages that are in your story, and whether or not they may connect with your intended audience.

Write Clearly

Show, don’t tell, but also give the reader what they want – don’t hide it under flowery prose and long, waffling descriptions. Whilst we often don’t give readers enough credit when it comes to their ability to follow a story and its subtext, you don’t want to make them work too hard to find enjoyment in your work. Reading is often a relaxing, fun use of time, not an arduous treasure hunt. The more accessible your story is to the everyday reader, the more likely they will be gripped by its contents.

Create Compelling Characters

It’s hard in this day and age to write a completely original character free of literary tropes, but that doesn’t mean you should rely too heavily on the archetypes that have become ingrained in modern media.

Writing a relatable, interesting, and diverse cast will inspire the reader to stick with your book like nothing else.

Create an Immersive Reading Experience

Good description, well-thought-out world building, and a decent plot are the main ingredients for this. Try to write a story that has the reader feeling as though they could be in it themselves. Some of the best books around feature worlds that allow the reader to imagine where they might fit into it. Greats such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Rings, all have environments with depth, and the potential for the reader to imagine something more for it.

Reading best sellers is a great way to understand what kind of book appeals to more than just one type of reader too. Even if you are writing in a more everyday setting (see books like Me Before You), you can still create this experience with my last item on this list:

Evoke Emotion

Books that grip the reader tend to instill emotion into them, whether that is amusement/laughter, or bittersweet sadness. Any book that appeals to a reader’s emotions immerses them into the story, provoking empathy and a real investment into the story that pays off for the writer.

And that’s about all I can think of for now, Anon. I hope this helps…!

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