Shock Your Reader…

When was the last time you shocked your readers? Jolted them outside their comfort zone?

When was the last time you made a statement in your WIP that made a reader say….Whoa…I never expected that…

The key to keeping your reader interested is to deliver well thought out and well planned emotional bullets….never underestimate the value of shocking your readers out of their comfort zone.  These emotional bullets engage your reader and demonstrate an author’s mastery of the craft of writing.

What is an emotional bullet?  

I came across this in a book…..

When the hero returned to the bedroom the heroine was gone, the cover-alls she had worn were spread out on the floor. And it wasn’t until he went to lift them up he realised the arms, legs and collars were nailed to the floor with three inch nails.

Whoa…There was no way I could stop reading…. Who would do something so bizarre?  What on earth would make the heroine do such a thing? Why hadn’t the hero heard her hammering… the questions just keep coming.

Emotional bullets engage a reader….and build that very elusive quality that every editor is seeking…. emotional tension.

So how do you create enough emotional tension to keep your reader hooked?

Too many writers think sex equals emotional tension…. it doesn’t. Emotional tension is the edgy, skirting around each other that characters do when they are want answers…. So to create believable emotional tension….have your character ask the hard questions.

Nothing will ramp up tension more than having a character ask the hard questions….don’t be kind to your characters…don’t let them off the hook….nothing pleases a reader more than to see a character dangling in the wind…

Another example of an emotional bullet….

This line from my book ….  “Return to Totara Park”

Tonight, Jared you are responsible for Winsome’s and Lacey’s safety under this roof. It would never do to have another accidental death at Totara Park.”

Or this line from my current WIP

And then he saw it.  A small grave…a child’s grave, but it was the inscription that brought him to his knees…       

These are emotional bullets….you’ve hooked your reader into turning the page…desperate to read more to find out what happens next.

When was the last time you shocked your readers with an emotional bullet? Try it, and you will be surprised. 

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Published on Friday, June 7th, 2013, under Latest News

2 Responses to “Shock Your Reader…”

  1. Susanne Bellamy says:

    Great post, Shirley. A timely reminder to up the ante in our WIPs. Thanks for sharing your writing wisdom.

    • Shirley says:

      Thanks Susanne

      I love sharing what I’ve learned…and it’s great to know it appreciated. This post came from a light bulb moment I experienced when listening to a workshop with Molly O’Keefe.

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