Place. Time. Character. These are the essential elements your readers need to capture their attention and keep them turning pages. Give them something to hang on to in the first pages.
Will Readers Want to Read Your Story?
Genre is everything to most readers. Some will only read historical romance. Some will only read fantasy. Some only read mysteries. It seems everybody wants to read YA fiction. Regardless of the genre, readers want a story that grabs them.
Write for your audience.
When I started writing my dark fantasy novel, I was writing out of my head and heart, but I didn’t have an audience in mind. My mind was deep into my fantasy world and characters, but when I was writing, I forgot how to tell the story to someone else. I shared some of my writing with other people and they were excited by my imagery. They encouraged me to keep going. But honestly, I was going down the wrong road.
Where are you?
Have you adequately identified a place for your readers? If they don’t know where they are, they won’t care about the story. You may start your story with an opening to a dark cave where bats can be heard rustling and a strange animal growl seems too close. That is somewhere! Already the hairs are rising on the back of my neck.
But there is no meadow here in this ancient village.
When are you?
Is this noon and that’s your character’s stomach growling and not a wild creature sound? Is it the break of day? Is it a Wednesday or the merry month of May? When is the narrative or scene happening?
The dust of mid-summer tickles her nose. It is too dry this year.
Who are you?
Is your protagonist clearly defined for a reader? Readers don’t need to know that the protagonist has red hair or wears braids and linen shorts. Readers might want to know the character’s age, general disposition, and any other information that would give them a reason to care.
She’s shifted again. Her people could be anywhere. They will do anything to stop her from ending their world. She will remain invisible to others until it’s safe.
Making the reader wait for more.
Give readers just enough to keep them turning pages but not so much that they think they already know what’s going to happen. Readers want to feel they are part of the story. They are! Without a reader, there is no interaction, just words on a page.
- Every sentence should build a paragraph
- that is taking readers through a chapter
- ending with a cliffhanger whenever possibl
Now you try it!
Practice writing a short story, maybe 2500 words, that contains all the elements of good storytelling. Here’s a beginner’s guide to writing a short story from the author, N. A. Turner.
Among the members of the Buffalo View Village Garden Club, you don’t have to dig deep to uncover misguided romance and mysteries. Blood on the Bridal Wreath is the first book in the cozy mystery series, Filthy Dirty Garden Gloves.
Mrs. Julian Stanche, an avid gardener and widow of nine years, never stopped grieving the loss of her unfaithful husband. The citizens of Buffalo View Village and its authorities assumed Julian drowned in a boating accident, though the true cause of his disappearance, certified as a death, remained a mystery. Someone knew what happened to Julian and the secrets buried with him. But they’d have to get rid of his wife, Gloria, before Julian and his secrets could be revealed. Through chaos and mayhem, new loves blossom, and scoundrels are undone in this comedy of errors and missteps.
REVIEWS FOR BLOOD
ON THE BRIDAL WREATH
Blood on the Bridal Wreath is a delightfully clever mystery filled with humor, suspense, and a wild cast of characters. Perfect for fans of Louise Penny, Laura Childs, and Agatha Christie, this cozy mystery, from its great title to its delicious ending, is a remarkable romp with devoted cat owner and expert gardener Gloria Stanche who seems to attract both danger and devotion. With a little digging, the cops of Buffalo View Village unearth intrigue, murder, and mayhem. – Bonnie West, author of Boyfriends
M.E. Fuller plants a varietal crop of characters carefully tends each one then sets the reader on a riotous chase weeding through the maze of her well-plotted garden. You’ll want to pick up your spade and dig into this organically grown mystery! – Lauren Nickisch, playwright,
Hephzibeth, Woman of Iron