E.A. Hill reports:
"A writer creates characters and locale and events for the purpose of keeping his readers’ attention as the story unfolds. Of tantalizing them with what ifs and what’s next. Of introducing characters that the reader can’t help but follow through the twists and turns of some complex plot. A writer writes to...stir emotions. He writes to hook readers, to get them so involved in his imaginary world that they turn their backs on their real world...Readers expect to be entertained. They expect action, emotion, a world filled with events that couldn’t possibly happen in their lives. They want characters they can identify with, that they can pretend to be...Readers want to imagine themselves as stronger or braver or more talented than they’ve had occasion to be in the [nonfictional] world...They want life in ultra mode—richer colors and deeper meanings and stronger emotions. They want more than what’s available to them in day-to-day interactions. They want to thumb off the safety and experience emotion to the max. They want you, the writer, to deliver that experience. And they deserve for you to create such an experience for them. While technique and grammar and punctuation are vital for a story, the story itself is essential. As you’re working on craft, remember your audience and their needs. They need characters they can relate to in some way...They need a compelling plot. They need a pull that’s stronger than those that tie them to family and their work lives. At least for the couple of hours it takes to read your story. What a task for a writer—to draw a reader from the compelling 3-D world that surrounds him into a world created only by words and the writer’s imagination. Heady stuff, creating stories so compelling that a reader will put aside his responsibilities to play in your world. Heady and satisfying and quite wonderful for the writer who achieves his goal of snaring a reader’s attention. Many have succeeded. Many more have failed. Yet there’s no reason to doubt that you can create the kinds of stories that capture thousands of readers. Why not? Why ever not? Study craft and mechanics. But don’t forget simple story—a character with a need who’s blocked from fulfilling that need. An imaginary world peopled with memorable characters. Events that arouse a reader’s desire to be different than who he is. Write well, yes. But be sure that your stories entertain. That’s the sign of a successful writer."
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