Keeping your reader interested in your content is a challenge-and-a-half for most beginner writers. There are many factors that can cause a reader to close a book and put it back on the shelf. It is key that you establish engaging content, but how? What is it that makes a reader stop and invest themselves in an article or story?
Here’s how in five, simple steps!
1. Check Your Grammar and Spelling
It’s a boring first point, but an important one. Grammar and spelling aren’t so important to some readers, but most of the time a small mistake in the first chapter or two can throw a reader off. Your story needs to capture the reader, you need to show them the interesting points in your story. That last thing you want is for them to be distracted by an embarrassing typo.
The good news is that will be covered in the editing process, so you need not worry about it too much in the beginning. Be sure to focus when reading and correct these mistakes. You will be surprised by how many readers you will gain. Now, with that point out of the way, let’s go over some less obvious ones!
2. Understand Your Reader
Your audience is after something specific. Each person has their own unique wants from your writing, but there is bound to be at least one intriguing aspect they all desire. Research, ask your readers what they are looking for and read content similar to yours. Finding the common ground will not only help you better establish what is important in your line of work but also help you engage the reader by using techniques which draw them in.
Understanding your audience, customer or reader is important in any enterprise. Not only that, but it will also help you better understand why you are writing what you write. You want to create the content that you would want to read and there are many writers out there who don’t understand this. Perhaps, you are one such writer. In which case, your content will not have what your reader is looking for.
3. Be Creative with Your Writing
Anyone can write a novel, it only takes time and dedication to see it through to the very end. Yet, what will help separate you from other writers and engage your readers is how you write. Be creative with your writing. Develop interesting techniques that work almost like a signature in your writing style. It could be small, such as an alliteration here-and-there, or a collection of amusing metaphors, or simply interesting chapter titles.
These can be simple changes in your style or dramatic ones, but a unique writing style is a fantastic way to engage your reader. In addition, it is a great way to have fun with your writing. Writers are much like artists, a unique flair will help separate them from the common writer.
4. Use Dialogue - Captivate with Conversation
Dialogue has been, is and will forever be an excellent method to capture your reader’s interested. A conversation between interesting characters is a sure-fire way to get your reader’s imagination engine running. As long as you make use of the correct dialogue structure, a dialogue makes any scene more interesting.
Your reader imagines a character’s voice, how they look and act when they speak. A passionate dialogue, for example, evokes stronger emotions in a reader. A relatable dialogue will always capture a reader as it helps to place themselves in the scene. For the last example, an amusing dialogue is a great way to get your reader to flow with the story, as it relaxes them, making it easier for them to read more.
What’s more, you can use this in an article, not just a story. Rhetorical questions and conversational language is a great way to get a reader involved in an article or blog post, wouldn’t you agree?
Experiment with your dialogue, take your time and read it aloud. If you can imagine the scene clearly, so will your reader.
5. Create Curiosity
For the final point, to create more engaging content you need to evoke curiosity. Your reader needs to find the story or article interesting straight away. The way you do this is by introducing a scene that makes them want to know more. The best way to show you this is with an example.
Let’s create a scene:
A police officer sits at his desk in a police station. Bored and typing away at his computer, the day passes slowly. The scene drags on, giving a sense of calm. Conversations are light and at best, mildly amusing. That is when the scene is broken by another officer who limps through the doorway, blood splattered across her face and uniform.
Scenes like this are an excellent way to make your reader situp with a clear interest in what happens next. Depending on your reader and genre, the answer can be almost anything. Perhaps the officer was attacked or it turns out to be a prank and the blood is fake. I don’t need to go through so many examples for you to see there are many ways you can interest your reader, but the best one is keeping them curious about what happens next.
To Cap it All Off
To end this blog post, I want to emphasise the importance of the subject a bit further. Creating and maintaining an engaged reader is not only great for your content, but it is also vital. When a reader is interested in your novel or article, the last thing you want to do is chase them away. You cannot simply pull them in only to disappoint them with the rest of your novel.
Whether you are a reporter, blogger or fiction writer, your content needs to maintain consistent quality. Write with interest in your own work and this shouldn’t be too difficult. You will find that many of the above points you will have no problem in covering as long as you are as interested in the content as your future reader.
On that note, good day, goodnight and happy writing!
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Thank you for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer
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