Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Keeping Reader Interest/Calls for Submissions

How do we keep readers interested in our stories? By leaving out the boring parts, of course. We can accomplish this task by incorporating the following:

1. Humor. Kids of all ages, from babies to seniors, react positively to humor. When done well, humor keeps the reader reading. Humor is used to soften life’s hardships and to ease the tension in a story in which the character is experiencing a difficult situation. All children identify with difficult situations, and humor is a stress reliever in life and in fiction.

2. Adventure. Kids like to explore the unknown. A journey into a castle dungeon, a trip through a graveyard on a dark, spooky night, flying to the moon, or simply staying up late on a weekend. The novelty of the situation provides interest and adds to plot development.

3. A strong, emotional connection to the character. The right story for the right person at the right time is like a warm cozy blanket on a cold winter’s night. Readers want the characters they like to succeed. They keep reading to find out if the character wins or reaches the goal. So take an interesting character and place the character in trouble. The worse the trouble, the better the story.

4. Throw more trouble at the character. If a character’s quest is too easy the payoff isn’t great enough. Treat your character badly, then treat him/her worse is a time-honored method of writing fiction. Naturally, the writer has to figure out a way to get the character out the mess by the end of the story.

Next week I’ll discuss more ways to keep the reader interested.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Ladybug. Magazine pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, fiction, columns/departments, fillers, photos/artwork. Subjects: Young children's interest, science, how-things-work, poetry.
Details at

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
KIDS' WORLD -. Biannual magazine featuring writing and art from young people up to age 17. Publishes poems, short stories, and art. Considers jokes, puzzles, games, and other material. No horror accepted. Send manuscripts to 1300 Kicker Rd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35404

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