Guiding A Reader’s Experience Throughout Your Novel (Secrets Of Narrative Drive), by Sarah Mussi
Gosh, my series of posts for this blog is turning into quite a tutorial! I’m even starting to learn from it myself. The next secret is really about pace. Hopefully, you’ve set up a great collision course in your story. Your protagonist is hanging off those cliffs and you aren’t rescuing them too easily. Brilliant. In fact you’re piling on the (metaphorical – or actual) hurt in thick slabs. Good. Your next job, once you’ve got your teenage reader ripping through the pages, is to control them. You don’t want them so eager to find out what happens next that they skip to the back of the book to find out. So this means:
Secrets of Narrative Drive
Secret Number 11
drum roll… tada!
Control the reader’s curiosity
If you’ve been successful at creating that page turning novel, strangely enough, to hold your readers you’ve got to build in some ‘breaks’. Readers can easily reach saturation and burnout. They cannot indefinitely hold off not knowing. One way around that is to build in reveals and triumphs to reward them for staying with the story. This is one of the roles of sub-goals. However, don’t reveal the ‘final outcome’ of the overarching quest or goal of the protagonist (whether lost or won), because if you reveal this too early it will kill the suspense.
So how you can use this secret?
- Reward your reader by telling them the results of sub goals
- Allow your reader a little bit of down-time after a very tense scene
- Up the ante before the tense scene – you know the kind of thing: the picnic in the woods before the reaping in The Hunger Games.
WATCH OUT FOR THE TWELFTH AND FINAL SECRET OF NARRATIVE DRIVE COMING UP IN MY NEXT POST
Sarah Mussi’s author website: www.sarahmussi.com
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