I went through a patch of reading several romance books for review purposes that I struggled to finish for various reasons. They were decent stories, some with outstanding writing, some with good characters, but overall, I could put the book down in the middle and not pick it back up. Onto the next one right?
Then my streak of “okay” was broken by a streak of page turners. The ones I couldn’t put down until I finished them and even then I suffered book hangover.
As a reader, I just know what I like or don’t like about a story. But as a writer, who wants her stories to be the pager turner kind, I want to know why the book is a page turner and find a way to duplicate that success. Readers who can tell a writer the ‘why’ about what they like are gold to us. They help us write better stories.
After thinking about it, I’ve come up with a short list of things that make a romance the page turning kind for me.
No kidding. If I have short chapters, I’m more likely to say, “I’ll just read one more chapter before I put this book down.” If the chapters are long, it is easier for me to find a stopping place.
A hook at the end of each chapter
Give me a reason to keep reading. If a chapter ties up loose ends in tidy bow, I feel content with placing my bookmark there. If something grabs me at the end and leaves some unfinished business, well, that bookmark falls by the wayside.
Seasoning with description
I’m the type of reader that will skip over long descriptions. I like action and dialogue. I recently read a book that had quite a bit more description than I like to read but it was so cleverly woven between the action and dialogue that I didn’t even realize I was reading it. I loved that book, by the way.
Strong, memorable characters
Okay, I admit that this one is pretty subjective. What is strong and memorable for me may not be for another reader. I like characters to know their minds and to have quirks (not too many, but one or two). If the author can pull off humor in the character, I love them to death. Make me laugh out loud and I will keep reading.
Since we are talking about romance, there needs to be chemistry between the hero and heroine. I need to see sparks and feel the attraction. I want to sigh and feel my heart race as I read about their love story.
So now I’m turning the conversation over to you.
What makes a romance a page turner for you?
What romances have you read recently that kept you turning the pages?
Loraine Nunley is an author and blogger who grew up near Detroit, Michigan and now lives just outside of Fort Worth, Texas. She is a member of ACFW and writes inspirational romance. In 2017, she was honored to be a finalist in the suspense category of the ACFW First Impressions contest.
Being a romantic at heart, Loraine often finds inspiration for her writing within her own marriage. She has been blessed to find her own real life romantic hero with her husband. Her writing career has included a self-help book about remarriage and a series of children’s books about military aircraft.
When not writing furiously and dreaming up stories, she can be found reading, adding books to her over flowing bookshelves, homeschooling her children, and enjoying time with her family.
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