This week’s video talks about the foundational reason readers will want to read all the way through your book, from beginning to end.
Video Transcript: Every author’s first and foremost goal is convincing readers to keep reading all the way to the final chapter. So how do we do this? There are, of course, many answers to this. The reasons readers decide to keep reading include everything from lovable characters to funny dialogue. But, at the most foundational level, the reason they stick with a book all the way to page 528 is that there’s something they want to know. The author has raised a question in the first chapter, and the reader is curious enough to read through 528 pages to find the answer. Sometimes that question is something basic, such as will the heroine’s marriage survive? Sometimes it’s something more complicated, such as will the detective hero figure out his split personality is the mass murderer he’s been tracking all this time?
But no matter how emotionally resonant or high concept your question is, the question by itself isn’t going to be enough to get the reader all the way to end of the book. Five hundred twenty-eight pages is a long way to go, and readers today have notoriously short attention spans. So what does the clever author do? He keeps reminding the reader of the initial question and tantalizing him with small and incomplete clues to the answer. These clues are the breadcrumbs that will lead the curious reader on a trail right to the Big Finale’s front door.
In a mystery, these breadcrumbs might take the form of literal clues. Perhaps the heroine, searching for her mother’s killer, keeps discovering hints of the truth, which lead her closer and closer to the answer. But the breadcrumbs can also come in other forms. For example, if readers are wondering whether your romance is going to end happily ever after, your breadcrumbs might include moments of progression in the two leads’ relationship. Whatever the case, just make sure your every plot point is a breadcrumb reinforcing your readers’ overpowering need to read on and find the answers.
Tell me your opinion: What's the latest breadcrumb you've fed your readers?
Related Posts: Is Your Story Mysterious Enough?
Up the Stakes to Grab Readers
Use a Question to Create an Unforgettable Opening Chapter
Story by K.M. Weiland