Sunday, February 17, 2013

SCWC: Keeping 'Em Hooked - Writing for Today's ADD Readers

-        Your story must: entertain, educate, enlighten
-        Bite-sized chapters are preferable for today's ADD/strapped-for-time readers.  People have short attention spans nowadays.  Despite the shortness of the chapters, the author's job is to get the reader to turn the page and start the next chapter.
-        Don't let the facts get in the way when it's a page-turning suspense.  Page-turning suspense is for EVERY genre.
-        Everyone needs editing.  Everyone.  The scene needs to move the plot!
-        Use critique groups like a salad – choose what fits.  Pay attention of multiple critiquers bring attention to the same issue.
-        Put your first draft away for a month and then review/revise it with fresh eyes.
-        Everything that is real must be right.
-        1 twist for every 2 characters.  3 characters – 2 twists
-        “The palest of ink is better than the best memory” - write stuff down whenever you can!!  Don't try to retain too much in your head.  Get it on the paper.
-        Difference between thriller and mystery – reader knows who the villain is near the beginning in a thriller.  How it's done vs who done it? (mystery)
-        Engage the reader with the main character – with the character reach his/her goal???
-        Mysteries and thrillers are popular because people are naturally problem-solvers.
-        Don't trick the reader, give them an “ah-ha” moment.
-        Raise the stakes.  Something awesome is about to happen—but under certain conditions.  (Ex: (amazing possibility)You can have a million dollars...(condition)but only if you can get to Catalina by noon.)
-        Good suspense depends a great deal on backstory.  But don't use backstory up front!
-        Write the whole story first (try to first plow through to the end, don't agonize forever on the first chapter)—you can always go back later and change/move around/delete things.
-        Use prologues sparingly.  Start off with chapter one.  You have to hook the reader in the first 2 pages.
-        Make the reader care about something, then put it in danger.  Make the stakes high enough to make people care about the character/character's goals.  IF this happens, THEN this happens...
-        If you want to increase the tension, shorten/clip the sentences
-        Create a ticking time bomb—something that must be accomplished, or all is lost!  What is the obstacle?  Throw rocks at your characters.
-        Use senses/setting to generate tension and anticipation (ex: The telephone is off the hook.  A broken window.  Water left running in the sink, etc).
-        Use longer sentences to slow down time
-        Break tension by having something happen (ex: the phone rings)
-        The twists must be more believable than what was previously thought/suspected.
-        If you're going to pull the rug out from under your reader, then give them a place to stand

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