Simply making a point doesn’t necessarily keep a reader’s attention. As writers we are aware of this fact, therefore we strive to ensure we set up a story from the beginning in order to hold the reader’s interest until the story is over. No one likes to read a book and realize in the first three chapters what happens, we want to read a good story and ask ourselves, will the girl get the guy? Will the hero reach his goal? When these questions are answered, the story is over. Our goal as writers is to ensure that we ask “the dramatic question” and keep the reader glued to the book in order for he/she to get the answer. To do this we have to tell the story in a way that doesn’t make it obvious, how many times have you been to a movie and half way through your companion tells you exactly what is going to happen ruining the element of surprise. This has happened to me many times and I hated it, it’s the same with a book, if you know in the middle what the outcome will be, why will you bother finish reading it? “The dramatic question” is the biggest question implanted in a reader’s mind and it why the reader keeps on reading. Sometimes the answer is obvious, in the love story the lovers will get together right? Imagine reading a 500page novel and having those expectations, only to find in the end, the lovers don’t get together at all? My thought would be that there better be a sequel. As readers the last thing we want is to feel cheated, so our job is to tell them how they will get together and if the ending is different, well then let’s hope the writer sets up the story so we are not taken off guard.
When was the last time you read a book you couldn’t put down? Have you ever been disappointed with the outcome of a Story?