by Lisa Sledge

Please don’t hate me when I tell you.  I slept through two-thirds of the final action sequence in Avengers. In my defense, the action went on for a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, action/adventure films and books are high up on my list of favorites. So what happened? How could I sleep through the climax?

Two things.
I could predict the ending.
I didn’t care.

I read a lot of blogs on writing. One common thread of advice is that the best way to capture an audience’s attention is to ratchet up the tension from the very first page and never let it stop. That readers will only care to finish the book if they’re riveted  by an unending series of action.

What crappy load of garbage to feed aspiring writers (and yes, I definitely still fit in the “aspiring” category).

But seriously.

A reader will finish if they care. Action isn’t intense unless we’re desperately cheering for the hero/heroine. It isn’t enough to like them. We have to be invested in their relationships, troubles, and fears. We have to love them enough to be scared for them.

This week as we’re writing, let’s stop trying to hook our readers with series of unending action. The action can happen . . . but it’s not the most important thing. Let’s first strive to write a world with characters whose problems capture a reader’s heart.

That should be our goal.



Filed under Character, First Line, Plot, writing process

7 responses to “Confession

  1. CLW

    Excellent, Lisa. Thank you.

  2. This happened to me recently reading an uber popular YA novel. Non-stop action, but I didn’t care at all about what happened to those characters. It was a pain to get through. Great post.

    • CLW

      Why did you keep reading? And may I say, your opening pages grabbed me right away, Ilima. I’ve had to set the book aside for a few weeks, but I cannot wait to sit and just READ.

      • Thanks, Carol. 😉
        I would have stopped, but a little birdy told me this series ends an awful lot like how I planned to end mine, so I’m trying to read it all to make sure it doesn’t look like I’m “copying” said popular book series. One more to go. 😦

  3. Reblogged this on Writing of Whitney Danielle and commented:
    Making your readers case is so important!

  4. I confess to sleeping through the ending action of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Although in my case, it’s probably because I went to the midnight showing of a three-hour-long movie. ;D


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