After reading Jodie Renner’s Write A Killer Thriller I was dead keen to read her new book on how to Captivate Your Readers.
When I read Killer Thriller I found it easy to read and stuffed to the gills with short sharp paragraphs giving vital advice to thriller writers like me. So easy and compelling to read that it was just the page turner that Jodie was advising the reader to create for their thrillers.
Needless to say when I spotted Captivate Your Reader I suspected it would similar.
I wasn’t wrong.
Firstly, I must give you a warning. Don’t have Jodie’s book arrive when you have a family weekend of outings and guests planned. The two will clash because Captivate Your Readers is like a magnet and will have you sneaking off at every moment to read it. When my copy arrived I didn’t want to anything but put my feet up and snuggle beside the fire to read and learn from this editing expert. So I did!
Bring Fiction To Life
Jodie’s book states that you will learn techniques to really bring your fiction to life for the readers, so they feel they’re right there, on the edge of their seats, struggling with the hero or heroine? Staying up late at night, worrying, glued to the pages?
As writers and especially us self-published writers want and need that kind of reader. A brilliant writing guide I have read on 'worrying your reader' is by Jack Hickman where he gives you lots of examples of how to worry your reader so much they stay up late and keep turning the pages.
So I was intrigued that Jodie’s book claimed to provide specific advice, with examples, for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world.
This book is an excellent example of practising what you preach. Jodie’s skill - of making you the reader of her writing book turn the pages – is proof that her techniques will work for your books.
Just looking inside the book to the contents shows you that you will be chewing on valuable information that every aspiring author needs to know, learn and practise with their own writing.
Page Turning Techniques
The chapters are broken up again with lots of gripping headings, titled so that you leapt straight into the next and next and next. Along with these captivating headings, subheading, real examples of each piece of guidance with before and after so you get a flavour of how you can improve your self-published manuscript and various bulleted lists drive you from cover to cover.
When Jodie says she wants to teach you to Captivate Your Reader, believe her. Every page gives you ways to engage your reader with a direct connection to the characters. For example Jodie goes into detail about doing this through deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and letting the characters tell the story. Jodie’ book shows you how to provide the emotional involvement and immediacy readers crave in fiction.
Jodie says the ‘show don’t tell mantra’ is heard in all writing advice. Why? Because it’s a critical concept to master if you want to engage your readers, get their heart rate quickening and keep them turning the pages.
I read this book in a couple of sittings as I am sure you will do. It's then that you realise Jodie is doing just what she is teaching. Her writing guide races along at an electric pace so hopefully these tips and tricks will creep into your own writing and set your fiction on fire.
Experience Scenes As The Reader
You want to put the reader right there in every scene to experience the action along with the most important fictional characters. Jodie goes into fine detail how to do this with dialogue, thoughts, actions and reactions. She also says that we must show every tiny movement to increase tension and suspense and intrigue. To draw out crucial scenes it’s important to milk them for all they’re worth.
Something important for all writers and authors is to learn deep point of view writing. Jodie explains this with examples of how to let your viewpoint character’s mood and attitudes and observations (on other characters, setting) colour your descriptions and explanations in a scene. This way your novel comes alive as a fascinating story world with an up close and personal read.
Sensory writing is critical too ensure your captivate your reader. According to Jodie and many other expert writing coaches using sights, sounds, scents, touch and taste from the character’s point of view draws your reader deeper into the story. They are able to see, smell, taste, hear and feel along with your characters. This gos for thoughts and reactions too.
Many readers and book people condemn those who highlight books. Some of my own readers have told me they have done this in my book, Pimp My Site, and I have applauded them because I do it myself in my favourite books.
Of course, if you’re reading a digital version you’re not ruining paper, but nevertheless, I say do it if it helps you when you jump in and out of the book looking for that gold nugget of advice you know is there. I also use sticky notelets and have them sticking out of the book for easy reference sky-diving me straight back to the gold dust sprinkled over the page.
Go Captivate Yourself
As I motored through Captivate Your Reader, being totally captivated myself, I started making notes on what I’d say in my review. I ended up with reams of them and so many highlighted paragraphs as examples it will be simply be too much to include here.
Best you just beam yourself into Amazon to buy Jodie Renner’s Captivate Your Readers and you too will be captivated as you learn how to captivate your own readers.
Go, now. Buy this book, it will be on top of that pile of much-loved writing guides!
Paula Wynne is the founder of Book Hub. She started Book Hub out of a need to market and promote her own fiction. As well as running Book Hub, Paula is an author with several published books.
Paula's Writers' Resource Series features the following books: Pimp My Fiction: How to Write a Novel with The Ultimate List of Creative Writing Books to Create A Plot & Build Character; A~Z Writers’ Character Quirks: A~ Z of Behaviours, Foibles, Habits, Mannerisms & Quirks for Writers’ to Create Fictional and 101 Writers’ Scene Settings: Unique Location Ideas & Sensory Details for Writers’ to Create Vivid Scene.