I read somewhere a few years ago that there are three questions every reader asks while reading a book whether they realize it or not. They are:
1. So What?
- Why should I care about this character? I’m glad he got in trouble. I don’t like him anyway.
- Why is this information so important to the plot? Nothing has happened to make me think it is.
2. Oh Yeah?
- I don’t believe that. There is no way that character would have done that based on what he did just 10 pages ago.
- Well that seemed pretty convenient. How dumb do you think I am to fall for that ending?
- I’m lost. I just read that paragraph three times and I have no idea what it said.
- That’s just stupid and makes no sense. Who would use that sort of logic to solve a problem?
If a reader asks any of these questions too often or too early in story, you can be sure that most of the time, they’re going to stop reading. I know I do. Therefore, as an author we need to look over our manuscripts with the same scrutiny.