When we love a story, we usually say things like: “Great premise, fabulous characters, talk about a fresh voice, and the writing? Exquisite!”
But is that really why we loved the story?
As counterintuitive as it may sound, the answer is no. Which isn’t to say that those things aren’t incredibly important, worthy and something to strive for. They are, hands down. But they’re not what grab, and hold, the reader – even though they’re exactly what your readers might rave about once they’ve finished your novel.
Truth is, you’re giving them something much more meaningful, and enduring, than that. The real reason your readers love your stories goes far deeper than their alluring surface. Stories are entertaining for one reason: so we’ll pay attention to them. It’s only once they have our undivided attention that they bestow their genuine gift – vicarious experience. Because, as I’m inordinately fond of saying, we don’t turn to story to escape reality, we turn to story to navigate reality.
Here are five ways your story helps your readers expand their horizons, understand the world, and know themselves a little better. These are the real reasons why readers love your story, and why (thanks to the dopamine buzz they get from it) reading a good book often feels exactly like falling in love. [Read more…]