How to Stop Your Story From Dragging?

How to Stop Your Story From Dragging?

I’m working on a manuscript that, according to the author, was ‘dragging’, but she couldn’t figure out why. I went through it making notes of a few descriptions that disrupted the flow, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought: the scenes and dialogue were timely and to the point.

Still, there was something that didn't seem right. It took me 4 chapters to figure out what was wrong.

Chapter 4 just blew my mind. Wow. It was so intense, so poignant and shocking. It was great.

The author knew how intense that scene would be and tried to leave some clues, but that was what caused the ‘dragging’. While the reader needed to know that something was going to happen, by the time he got to it he was too exhausted from waiting. Admittedly, that scene still came across as intense, but it was expected because the character was constantly stressed.

Foreshadowing is great and it should be in the story -- readers need to expect something to happen, otherwise they may not read on -- but you run the risk of making your story drag and bore your reader.

Readers demand emotions from stories, and authors need to structure their stories as ‘emotional rollercoasters’. It doesn’t mean that you need to create numerous major (or minor) events. Rather, those rollercoasters are created by putting emphasis on the character's emotions and setting contrast between information available for MC and the reader.

This contrast is a great tool authors could benefit from; to calm their readers before some intense scene to have them come to it totally unprepared.

If your MC is afraid something bad might happen, soothe him, make him feel in control, give him false belief, false hope…and then crush him to the depths of abyss by a totally unexpected scene that takes everything away from him.

Some readers would hate the author for doing it. Oh, how many times have I cursed authors for doing this to the characters I loved. Guess what…I remember those stories because of that super unexpected moment.

It doesn’t mean this moment should be graphically intense. No. It must catch the MC by surprise, and it must show how it changed him.

Some authors have a tendency to keep their characters at a distance, but characters are the tools to help readers experience the world they have entered. The more they feel the world surrounding them, the more readers enjoy the experience.

Make your characters feel everything and show your readers the awesomeness of your fictional world.