June 8, 2015
How to Turn Off Your Readers
You’re writing that great American novel. You’ve read tons of “how to write” books, studied your high school English books to the last dangling participle, and now you’re ready to start pecking away at the keyboard.
There are a few basic principles of writing good fiction to keep your reader engaged that must be remembered or your book will go flying out your reader’s window. Worse yet, while it’s being reviewed at the publishing company, the editor will send your manuscript back so fast, you’re characters’ heads will be spinning. Your story will never see the light of published day.
So, if you want to turn off your reader, or your editor, here’s what you do:
- Start your book by waxing eloquent. Describe beautiful settings, introduce action, and throw in a few pages of dialogue of minor characters. But don’t introduce your main protagonist until page 10.
- Write 20 pages of backstory with vivid descriptions and details of your protagonist’s past life. Tell every nitty, gritty little detail about him that doesn’t mean beans to the main story line.
- Have your plot direction the mystery of mysteries. “What the heck is going on here?” will run through your reader’s mind every time he turns the page and starts a new chapter.
- Develop a main protagonist that is offensive and says really outrageous or stupid things that aren’t justified. For example, women readers are very sensitive to male attitudes toward them. (The author’s attitudes will come shining through in the protagonist’s actions and words.)
- Make your main protagonist such a “cutsie” or upstanding citizen that your readers get turned off by his/her perfect life. Let’s face it. No one’s perfect except Jesus. Your hero/heroine has to have some faults, which endears him/her to the reader and cheers him/her on to win at the end of the story. No reader in his right mind would want to embrace a character who is so heavenly minded, he’s no earthly good.
- If you’re writing Christian fiction, preach it, brother! Fill your pages with scripture verses and holier-than-thou principles of goody-two-shoes living. Write a book that reads more like a Bible study than a novel. Yes, you want to embed biblical principles in your writing, but do it subtly through the eyes and heart of your main character, and your readers will get the hint.
So, there you have it. If you’ve decided you don’t want to ever be published, there’s what you do. Master these six steps, and you’ll definitely turn off any reader who’s brave enough to attempt to tackle your “eloquence.”
TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE
MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE!
Four Major Morning Continuing Classes
40 Afternoon Workshops
Fellowship with Other Authors, Agents, and Editors