Good question! We certainly don't want to bore our readers. The last thing we want - dare I say our nightmare - is to have the reader put the book down, unread. *shudders*
Here are some tips we can use to keep the momentum going, and the reader hooked!
- Change it up! Take a step back and look at your pages. Are they filled with words, with hardly any white space? That's a clue that you might have overdone the description. We want the white space varied on any given page. We want a mixture of dialogue, description, and action. Does every paragraph start with "I"? Vary paragraph length, sentence structure, and content. It's a juggling act, and you have to keep the balls in the air. The good news? That's what revision's for!
- Make the reader react as strongly as the MC. If you can make the reader empathize with your character? You've done your job. The reader has to be invested. Give them something to feel connected to. Do they recognize a quality in your character that reminds them of themselves? Do they understand WHY the character acts the way they do? Internal dialogue helps here, and we'll go into that more on another post (we have a question about that!) Then when something stressful happens, and we get that reaction from the character, the reader will feel it too.
- Keep up the tension. This does NOT mean dangle the MC by his toes over a vat of piranhas in every scene. It means, present a goal (big or small), put an obstacle in the MC's path or reaching it and or another conflicting goal, and voila! Recipe for tension. Which brings us to my favorite thing: TORTURE YOUR CHARACTERS. I always say if mine came to life I'd be in BIG trouble. But that's what makes for an exciting read!
- Avoid the info dump. We hear it all the time. But we sometimes make excuses like, but I have to tell them this or they won't get it! You're a writer. Be creative! If your MC lives in this world, he's used to it. We don't discuss with each other what coffee cups are do we? No. We don't call someone and say: "Hey! I'm five foot four with red hair!" Um, I hope not. You get the idea. Make it natural and don't overwhelm. A little at a time is all the reader can digest. Don't introduce too many things/characters/plot points at once. Take your time, if you keep that tension going, you can drip the rest in.
Hope that helps! That's my recipe for making sure the reader isn't bored. Can you think of anything I missed? I'm sure I did!! Let's discuss.