Writing for the Impatient Reader
As a less experienced writer, my frustration with “the experts” spreading wisdom of capturing the reader within the first five pages, the first paragraph, the first line for God’s sake, nearly drove me to premature writer-pattern baldness.
Now, many years and several manuscripts later, I have become the very type of reader I loathed. The one who has to be immediately charmed, shocked, seduced, or even scared into staying with a book–or even a blog article.
As a writer, somehow I feel as if I should feel guilty admitting this. As if I should long to bask in the luxurious flow of words on the page (or screen). But I don’t. I write. I mother. I wife. I work. I live. In a world turning at what often feels like the puree setting of a blender.
Therefore, I don’t read as much as I should because, honestly, its hard to hold my interest. (And no, I’m not ADHD–unless my environment has driven me to it.) I become frustrated with redundant description, dawdling action, subplots that fail to add depth to the main plot or the characters.
Double, triple, quadruple duty people — that’s what I’m talking about. Make every scene pull triple its weight and then we’ve got movement! Cut the unnecessary description. Snap up the dialogue. Do away with extra movements. Get rid of introspection.
We impatient readers want to know what happens next in the story and how it affects the characters and how they will handle it, and while you’re at, don’t tell us about it…show us.
Are you an impatient reader?