Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"As Page Turning As Grisham" - How To Keep Readers Reading

Consider these comments on Amazon UK:
  • ... couldn't put it down
  • I finished this book at 2am !!!!!! Really exciting read.
  • I downloaded [the novel] thinking I'd read one chapter then come back to it when I had time. Well, I couldn't stop!
  • ... if there's a sequel, I'll grab it so fast Amazon might have its fingers singed.
Wouldn't you love to see these comments for your book?

Luckily for me, these were all review comments for my debut novel, Body of Water.

I spent a lot of time deciding where to break my chapters, as well as how to break them, choosing the best places to get my readers to recommit to my book as each chapter ended, NOT to give them a convenient spot to put it down.

Here are some examples of my chapter endings:
  • But one woman knew better.
  • "You left the tag on," he smirked, snapping the plastic that tethered it to the fabric and threw it over his shoulder. "Ready?"
  • But there was more news to come.
  • "Pour me a drink. A bloody big one."
  • He leaned towards me, his voice barely a whisper. "Considering yer father told us ye were dead."
  • I had to uncover the truth first.
  • "Because it was me that cast it."
  • Looking up my jaw slackened.
  • I sprinted up the final steps and gasped at the horror that lay on the bed.
  • "Then show me."
  • I hoped there'd be plenty of time for that in the future.
  • A bright light filled the room as the door exploded inwards and a monster rose from the wreckage.
  • The Sea Mither's face turned heavenwards. "Teran approaches."
Each of these ending fall into rough categories of mystery, unanswered question, cliffhanger, suspense, foreboding, revelation.

Using these techniques has contributed to Body of Water topping Amazon UK's Gay Fiction chart for three weeks over August and September this year.

Try them in your own chapters and see the difference they make!