Storytelling involves more than listing the facts. Readers don’t only want to know what happened, they want to be drawn into the lives of your characters and know what they feel and why. They also want to live the journey with your characters and experience the events too. You need to have more than a great plot to have the reader turning pages.
Stories need compelling characters that draw the reader in and make them want to learn more about what happens to those characters. Even Aristotle knew, more than 2000 years ago, that characters are important to a good story. He believed every story needed an interesting character that has both strengths and weaknesses and a problem that will test his abilities. He didn’t believe that the character always had to win and often wrote tragedies.
All The Senses
A good way to draw a reader in is to use the five senses to ground them firmly in your world. This doesn’t mean pages and pages of description. It can be a line or two, a couple of words or the character interacting with their environment. But even using the five senses isn’t enough to draw the reader in. If the description doesn’t matter to the story, or move the story forward in some way, it won’t matter to the reader.
A rich setting that allows the reader to feel like they are there with the characters can help draw them in. You need to be careful not to add the setting into the story in large chunks as that will separate it from the story and throw the reader from the story. One of the best ways to add in setting is to relate it to the main character. What they think and feel about their environment can make it more relevant to the story.
The way a character thinks, feels and the why of their actions can help the reader become deeply immersed in the story. Without the emotional aspect, you risk keeping the reader at a distance. You want the reader to feel what the character feels. Their worries, fears, joys and excitements. But do be careful not to tell the reader what the character is feeling and make sure you show instead.
Immerse The Reader In Your World
You want the reader to feel a part of your world. Whether that is the familiar or the fantastical. You want them to know the settings, how it smells, the tang of the air and the sounds in the area. You want the reader to know the sensations of being able to touch and hold different objects from your world and how characters feel. Give them more than the facts, but be careful not to overdo things with large information dumps, which tends to bore the reader.