What Makes a Reader Turn the Page?

In my many years of writing, I think I am just now getting to the point where I understand what it is that makes a reader turn the page. I discovered it by reading a variety of books. At the same time. Yes, I do that sometimes, grin.

turn the page
Sprengben [why not get a friend] / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

So as I am reading an epic fantasy I am also reading a urban fantasy and a medieval fantasy. Two of the books are paced fairly quickly, and one is very slow paced. I figured what their pacing is by paying attention to what the characters do in different scenes-when high-stakes incidents are going on.

Now, what makes a reader turn the page? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Words. If the author is using great active verbs, the reader’s eyes move. They move and fingers turn pages.

2. Foreshadowing. The author has spent a great deal of time setting up the moment for the best impact.

3. Action. The characters are IN MOVEMENT. They are not sitting around talking about acting, or not for long anyway. They are running, riding, or shooting something.

When I read these passages, I can physically feel myself moving. My eyes are racing across the page, my fingers ready to zip to the next page, and my mind is fully enlisted in the words being used. As the photo says, my heart is pounding and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Now some books are not supposed to read in this fashion. Literary works for example are a much slower, savor the art sort of read. That’s okay. These are not known for their action scenes, are they. But in fantasy, all varieties, there needs to be a sense of progression, and the faster pace – the better. In my opinion, anyway.

If we as authors cannot figure out how to do this, our reviews will likely show it.

 

 

 

About master

Kim Smith is the author of Disk of Death, The Dread Room, Love Inn, and An Unexpected Performance.

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