Archive for January 30th, 2012

January 30, 2012

Set fire to your heroine and feed her to the lions

by limebirddennis

OK, so you are writing a novel; what is it that keeps the reader actually reading?

For some it may be the bodice ripping count, if some pale and palpitating young thing doesn’t get her bodice ripped at least every other chapter, then it’s into the old supermarket box under the stairs with it, ready for a trip to the second-hand book store.

For others it’s body count, if they can’t picture the blood dripping from the spine of their book at regular intervals then why carry on?

Whatever it is that floats a reader’s particular boat, there is a common thread. Will the heroine find a protector, will the prisoner avoid the guards and escape? That common thread is jeopardy. According to the Collins English Dictionary, jeopardy can be defined as danger of injury, loss, death, etc.; risk; peril; hazard. In writing terms it can be what provides the motivation to RUN!!! It may be a source of tension or conflict. In other words, it is what can take your story and transform it from being simply a series of scenes that take us gradually towards the conclusion, into a story that is compelling. As a young reader, if I saw a blurb on a book that said it was “a real page turner” then it told me something about what I could expect from the hours that I was going to invest in reading; and if I wasn’t feeling compelled to turn that page…

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