Create a Page Turner

You want to create a page turner. You want your readers up late at night, reading. You want them to say to their significant other when called to bed, “Just one more page!”

How do you do that?

Literary agent and writing instructor extraordinaire, Donald Maass, tells us in his latest book, The Fire in Fiction.

“Holding readers’ attention every word of the way is not a function of the type of novel, or a good premise, tight writing, quick pace, showing not telling, or any other frequently taught principles of storytelling. Keeping readers cons comes from the steady application of something else altogether.
Micro-tension is the moment-by-moment tension that keeps the reader uin a constant state of suspense over what will happen, not in the story but in the next few seconds. It is not a function of plot. This type of tension does not come from high stakes or the circumstances of the scene. Action does not generate it. Dialogue does not produce it automatically. Exposition—the interior monologue of the point-of-view character—does not necessarily raise its level. …
Micro-tension is easily understood but hard to do. I know this because when teaching it in workshops I watch participants nod in understanding when I explain it, but see them stare helplessly at their pages when they try to do it themselves.
So, let’s start with this concept: micro-tension has its basis not in story circumstances or in words: it comes from emotions and not just any old emotions but confliction emotions.”

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and Techniques to Make Your Novel great by Donald Maass

You gotta read his book to find out exactly how.

More Excerpt Thursday posts here.

c. 2009 Beth Barany

Who Beth Barany works with are aspiring authors and busy professionals. She helps them get their books finished and out into the world. Find out more in her latest book, The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book, or at her site: Stay in touch with her events and get exclusive writing tips by signing up for her newsletter on her site.

Excerpt used based on Fair Use laws.

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