If you ever have the opportunity to hear Donald Maass speak I urge you to take it. Which isn't to say I agree with everything he says, but I've found that whatever he says is worth pondering.
(See: Donald Maass Talks About How To Make Your Readers CARE About Your Characters On The First Page and Donald Maass: Your Writing Matters, Dig Deep And Change The World)
Today Denise Covey asks: "Why do some books not sell?" She writes:
... there are lots of reasons a book sells or doesn't sell, but it is universally agreed (and Maass makes this point) that 'Great novels not only draw us in immediately but command our attention. They not only hold our interest but hold us rapt.'Yes, generating narrative drive is the key. It's just doing it that's the problem. (grin)
(See: Using Pinch Points To Increase Narrative Drive)
Here are three things Donald Maass warns will prevent a reader from being pulled into a story:
Timid Voice - this DOES NOT command attention.I'll leave you with this promise:
Untested Characters - Make sure your characters show spine, take courage, have high principles or face their deepest fears.
Overly Interior or Exterior Stories - Be the god of your story world. Interior stories need dramatic outward events. Dramatic outward events need to create a devastating interior impact.
Runaway success comes from great fiction, period. The publishing industry may help or hinder but cannot stop a powerful story from being powerful. -- Donald Maass
Other articles you might like:- Creating The Perfect Ending
- 7 Basic Plot Types
- Creating The Perfect Murderer
Photo link: "Its All About Pelicans!" by VinothChandar under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.