Are you writing fanfiction, or perhaps an original work, and feel like your story is more likely to make readers fall asleep than be immersed in the characters and world that you’ve created? Maybe you need help figuring out what exactly it is about your story that needs improvement. Here are some tips to help you with just that.
One reason your story is boring could be that it’s too predictable and lacking in twists and turns that will make the readers’ jaws drop. But your readers need to come away from your story feeling surprised by its execution. Therefore, you need to add plot twists or unexpected situations along the way. For example, let’s take a look at Cinderella, a story that we’re all familiar with. What kind of story would it be without its various plot twists? For instance, Cinderella looks forward to going to the ball, but her stepmother unexpectedly prevents her from attending. This is an example of an unexpected situation occurring in order to keep the readers’ attention and make them wonder what is going to happen next. Now, take this advice and implement it into your own story. Your hero seems like he’s about to save the day? Throw an obstacle at him or her to make things more complicated. A predictable story is not going to be one that readers remember, but an unpredictable story is one that they won’t be able to forget.
Another way to make your story more exciting is to have your character face obstacles throughout his or her journey. Without obstacles in the way of what the character wants to achieve, there isn’t a story. For example, there are plenty of obstacles that prevent Harry from defeating Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. He wasn’t able to permanently defeat him as a baby in the first book. If that had happened, then the plot would have been much too simple and not at all interesting. Instead, Harry faces Voldemort at the end of nearly every school year and comes away each time without a solid victory. It’s only in the final book that he manages to destroy each and every piece of his soul and prevent him from causing terror ever again. Seeing the hero be in trouble so often makes the reader want to find out how (or if) he will succeed in the end. Therefore, this is exactly what you should do in your own story. What’s an obstacle that can get in the way of your hero’s mission? The bigger the problem, the more interesting it is to read about!
Another reason your story might not be engaging enough is that your characters are not in control of the plot – instead, the plot is pushing your characters forward. This is a recipe for creating disinterest in the reader. For example, imagine if Ariel from The Little Mermaid hadn’t chosen to become a human and had instead been forced to become a human. The plot would have been forced upon her, instead of her influencing the plot. What makes this plot point intriguing is that Ariel’s naïve personality causes her to make a questionable decision to become human, since being human means that she cannot use her voice anymore. This allows the reader an opportunity to see who the character is, based on her actions during the movie. So, take this advice into consideration and ask yourself who’s running the show in your story – is it your character or an external influence? At the end of the day, readers will appreciate your story more if they can connect with the characters, and a character-driven story will provide more opportunities for that connection than a plot-driven story will.
These are just a few ways to make a story more interesting. Add some plot twists, obstacles for your main character to face, and a character-driven plot, and you’ll be well on your way to writing an engaging story that will keep readers interested until the final page.
Featured image via vox