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How to Keep Readers Interested

Hello everyone! I'm Lively Writer and I write to share, explain, and promote how to make your own story idea a reality.

Difficulties of Keeping Readers

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One of the most difficult things when writing a story is keeping readers interested. The most common difficulties are the reader becoming bored, the story becoming repetitive, the story becoming too long, and the story including a problematic trope. But its actually very easy to fix these difficulties. Let me tell you how.

Story is Boring

The first difficulty is a reader becoming bored. This happens because the reader finds the story bland and repetitive. There isn’t any action or drama to hold their attention. To create drama, you could say more with less (imply something that will happen/like a foreshadowing), add tension to a scene, really amp up a character’s desire, and add complications. For example, say there’s a story that’s about a boy transmigrating to a fantasy world and becoming a farmer. Naturally, you can add creatures like werewolves, vampire, fairies, etc as farmhands.

You then can make a routine for your character to go through but add certain complications that they face for the day. Like your MC gets up to shave the sheep’s because winter is coming and they need to make clothes, but the vampire forgot to drink blood again and tried to eat the sheep which caused the sheep to run away. The characters routine has been broken and the main mission now is to find the sheep (which you can use to add funny situations or even new characters). Not only does this add drama but also add complications to the characters routine.

Another example is adding a love rival, a developing love triangle, or a tense situation with the family in slice of life story. In the end it really depends on what type of story your writing. If your writing just a romance story then adding a serial killer that chases the main character won't make any sense. So, you can add events to your story that creates tension but it should match what your writing.

Story is to Long

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The second difficulty is the story becoming too long. Its understandable if your story is complex and needs a lot of chapters to really tell the tale however there is a point when there is to many chapters. This problem usually arises when a story writer has a simple plot and story line but makes the story 700 chapters long. 700 chapters is to many chapters. At most a long story should have 100-200 chapters.

Short stories usually go by word count instead of chapters but I figured out that around 10-20 chapters is a good amount. Generally, I've seen "short stories" go up to 100 chapters. However, in these stories each page is only 5 pages as its written in a text box on a platform like Wattpad.

Problematic Tropes

Trigger warning! This part of the article contains mentions of SA.

The third difficulty of keeping readers is adding a trope to the story that’s problematic and disturbs them. Problematic tropes usually include sensitive themes like mental illness, disabilities, and sexual assault. For example, there is a problematic trope of the rape victim falling in love with the rapist. There isn’t really an issue with these topics unless, as a story writer, you try to whitewash it (looking at you romance genre).

Using these tropes that use this topic and either whitewashing the abuser (like with SA in the romance genre) or not portraying them realistically will drive readers away. First, because some tropes like SA is disgusting in real life as well as fictional and other tropes are disrespectful to the people who have that issue.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Erin Reynolds

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