Writing tips from an expert

My 8-year-old son is a great reader – who doesn’t really like to read.

He starts one book after another, claiming they don’t hold his attention and he simply can’t go on. The most recent one is sooooooooooooo boring, he says, that even a big reader like me would agree.

What’s wrong with it? I asked.

“There’s no main character and no theme,” he said. “It’s not happy or sad or funny and it has too much description. It’s not interesting.”

As a person who loves a good story – and who is working on a novel myself – I wanted to hear more.

What does make a good book? I asked him. He answered with ease:

  • There have to be good characters and a problem they have to solve or a goal.
  • It should be sort of a mystery so you want to see what happens.
  • It should be humorous or adventurous and make you feel happy or sad.
  • It has to have a solution to the problem or a moral or a lesson learned.

Wow. I’m glad I was taking notes. We as writers are always looking for tips and inspiration. I got mine from the son I hope learns to love books as much as I do. As I’m wading through drafts and struggling for words, I’ll remember what readers really want.

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