My favorite comment I love to hear from my readers about my novels is: “I couldn’t put it down!” When I hear this, I’m satisfied I’ve done a good job to entertain my readers, and that’s the best gift I can give as an author.
My stories will never change the world. They are designed to entertain–to take readers to another time and place. I strive to evoke emotion. My novels offer insights about friendships and love, strong women and brave men. And in the final chapter, I finish the book.
I don’t know how you feel, but if I’m left “hanging” at the end of a novel, I feel cheated. I want resolution. I want to know that the time I spent reading 300 or more pages was worth my time.
So how does an author keep readers turning pages? I believe in today’s reading world it comes down to a couple of things. First, chapters should be short. Our modern attention spans demand quick, concise reading. When a chapter is only a few pages, readers don’t tire by the end and are often spurred on to read another. (I figure if James Paterson can do it, so can I.) Second, the chapter leaves a tease. The reader wants to know what happens next, so they will continue reading. And finally, timing must be perfect. The author needs to instinctively know when to pause and begin the next chapter.
My advice is if you think you should stop, you probably should. The over-worn saying “less is more” really does apply in this case. Happy writing!