I feel that writing should be reader-centric. Of course the creative process demands that the first draft be unselfconscious and unbridled, but it never stops there. Writing is a communication medium. What we are communicating is an experience. Who we are communicating to is the reader.
In order to communicate an experience to a reader we have to put them in an altered state; to “spellbind” them. This is essentially the same thing as hypnotizing them. Anything that breaks the spell – a misspelled word, an awkward phrase, an over-long sentence, an unrealistic action – works against our basic purpose. We want them absorbed, to forget that they are reading words and instead live out experiences in their mind.
In doing that, we have an obligation to make the ride something enjoyable, so that they will want to get on our next ride. So we must wake them up from their trance at the end, and have them walk away feeling good.
So how is that done? Find out what readers want and give it to them.
- Readers like orientation. Who, what, where, when, and maybe why or how. Never forget those.
- Readers like to explore. So give them something to be curious about, and let them gradually find answers.
- Readers like tension, then release. A long period of excitement and tension that is gradually increased until it reaches the point where it is unbearable, and is then finally released. A story should follow that plan.
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