What makes a Page Turner?
Comments and reviews about my romance novels quite often contain phrases like:’ Couldn’t put it down’ (or ‘unputdownable’ as one person said) or ‘I was glued to it’ or ‘Once I started, I had to carry on until I finished it.’ In fact, one of my readers once ‘complained’ that I had kept her up late because she had to read ‘just a bit more’ until she got to the end of the book!
Obviously, these are very satisfying remarks for an author, but they made me think what aspects of a novel make it a page turner.
The first requisite, of course, is that readers want to know what happens next. This means that the plot must be intriguing enough for them not to be able to guess the rest of the story by the time they get to Chapter 2. Of course, with a romance novel, they know the hero and heroine will get their happy ending, but the author must introduce enough unexpected twists and turns to keep readers in suspense, wondering how that is ever going to happen.
Another important aspect is to keep the story moving forward. Long descriptions of people and places might be suitable for literary fiction, but romance readers don’t want to read a whole page describing the scenery, or the layout of a house, or exactly what the characters are wearing down to the last detail. A short paragraph with well-chosen words is enough to allow readers to use their own imaginations. Anything more can slow down the action – which brings me to another big turn-off i.e. irrelevant scenes where nothing actually happens.
There’s no need to describe the heroine’s shopping trip, or her day at work, or her cooking and gardening efforts, unless something happens during these events that advances the story. This may seem obvious, but I’ve read some stories that have contained scenes which seem to add nothing to the story. It’s worth remembering that every scene, indeed every page, should contain some kind of ‘action’. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something dramatic, but there should be a significant ‘something’ that relates to the plot or to the characters. This could anything from a major turning point in the story or the introduction of a new character to a subtle change of attitude or a character learning something about themselves or about the other person or the situation they are in. This applies to conversations, too. Skip all the ‘Hello, how are you?’ pleasantries and/or dialogue that rambles on with no real relevance to the rest of the story.
Cliff-hangers are a well-known device to keep readers turning the pages, especially at the end of a chapter. It’s been said that you should never end a chapter with a character turning off the light and going to sleep – because if your readers are reading in bed (which, of course, many people do) they will probably do the same! Instead, aim to ‘End each chapter with a bang, not a whimper’! Ask a question, foreshadow something that is going to happen (without giving it away), end with a dramatic moment for one or more of the characters – anything that will make your readers want to carry on reading – even though it might be after midnight.
An author can also drop hints during a chapter which make readers start asking questions e.g. Character A seems to have a hidden agenda – what is it? I used this in my novel, IRISH INHERITANCE, which brought this comment from my beta reader, ‘I’m dying to know what …. (no spoilers!) is up to.’ There are also times when readers can be one step ahead of your characters. In IRISH SECRETS, for example, the hero is not what he is pretending to be, and in IRISH DECEPTIONS something is revealed by the hero which the heroine doesn’t suspect. Hopefully, this makes people want to continue reading to discover what will happen when the heroine discovers the truth.
My final point is the characters themselves. Romance readers want to empathise with the heroine and fall in love with the hero, and the author needs to ensure that readers get to know the characters well enough to care about them. This means that’ll be interested enough to turn the pages to find out what happens to them, and how they will reach their happy ending.
(This is the cliff-hanger ending of one of the chapters)
‘I can’t imagine what we’re going to find,’ Jenna said as they walked along the corridor and past the balustraded landing to the bedroom on the western side of the house.
‘Dust and cobwebs?’
‘In which case, the first thing we’ll need is a vacuum cleaner.’
‘Of course, it might be completely empty.’
Outside the wide oak door, Guy stopped, and Jenna turned to him. ‘Go on.’
He gave her a wry grin. ‘I’m not sure whether I’m excited or scared.’
‘For all we know, there might be a dead body in the room.’
Her eyes widened. ‘Sheesh, I never thought of that.’
‘If this was a movie, spooky music would be playing right now.’
‘There can’t be a body. It would smell.’ She stared at him. ‘You don’t think—’
He put his arm around her. ‘You’re too easy, Jenna. I’m kidding you.’
‘Oh, you—!’ She flicked her fingers across his ribs. ‘Stop winding me up.’
His hand tightened on her arm, and she leaned against his shoulder. It felt good, so good…
She twisted her head to look up at him. The gentleness in his eyes, soft as a caress, sent a wave of heat rushing through her from head to toe. They gazed at each other for what seemed like forever, but could only have been a few seconds.
Guy was the first to break their eye contact. ‘Let’s open the door, shall we?’
With his arm still around her, he put the large key into the lock and struggled to turn it. She’d started to think it must be too stiff to open, when a loud click made her jump.
He reached past her to twist the brass doorknob. ‘Do you want to go in first, or shall I?’
After her wimpish reaction to his earlier joking, she decided on bravado. ‘Go on, push the door, and I’ll go first, but you’d better be right behind me.’
‘In case there’s a skeleton hanging from the chandelier?’
‘Stop it!’ She dug her elbow into him. ‘If this door creaks when you push it open, I shall probably scream.’
The door didn’t creak, but opened smoothly. Jenna took a small step into the room and clapped her hand to her mouth.
‘Oh my God!’ she whispered.
English actress, Jenna Sutton, and American artist, Guy Sinclair, are thrown together when they find they’ve jointly inherited a house on the west coast of Ireland. Neither knows their connection to their unknown benefactress, but they set about unravelling the intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. Despite their personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements, Jenna and Guy feel their growing attraction.
When local property agent, Eve Callaghan, appears to have her own agenda, friction builds over Jenna and Guy’s decision about the house and its contents.
Will their Irish inheritance bring them together – or drive them apart?
Links to all four of my Mist Na Mara novels are shown on my Amazon author page:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ELbXqo
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2om9MyM
and on my Tirgearr Publishing page: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula/
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.
She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.
Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.
Galway Bay, taken at sunset:
Follow the rest of my tour here! http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/paula-martin/
Protecting His Alien Mate
erotic alternative romance, aliens, mm, anal sex, consensual D/s, spanking, HEA, male pregnancy
Damian Shepard is no ordinary prison guard. He’s a Solarian, an alien race that sought refuge on Earth over a century ago. They live peacefully and anonymously among humanity and prefer to live in the towns they have founded. Because they live longer and are stronger than humans, they’ve created their own system of justice designed specifically to punish members of their race who have committed crimes.
Shunned by his family for being gay, all Fletcher Voglar wants is a happily-ever-after with a sexy man who loves him. But when he is wrongfully sent to prison by a corrupt official, Fletcher gives up his dreams of having a life filled with love and happiness. One day Damian stumbles upon Fletcher during a routine check of the prisoners where he works. Instantly he knows that the frail yet beautiful human is his destined mate. Finding a mate is one thing but when that perfect man turns out to be an inmate at the prison where he works, Damian’s world is turned upside down.
But when the opportunity arises to get his mate out of there, Damian jumps at it. The crooked Solarians who threw Fletcher in prison are now after Damian too, and they won’t stop until they’re both dead. Can Damian win Fletcher’s heart and clear their names or will their enemies kill them before Damian gets a chance?
“My little sub, on your knees,” Damian said.
In one graceful move, Fletcher obeyed.
“Take everything off, pet.”
Fletcher winked as he slowly undressed. “I don’t see why I bother to wear clothes around you, I end up taking them off anyway.”
“Silence, little mate,” Damian said.
“Why do I have to be quiet now? You seem to like the way I make noise in the bedroom.”
Damian chuckled. His little mate’s cheeky nature was cute and sweet but very naughty.
“You have now earned your first spanking,” Damian said.
Fletcher mouth hung open and his eyes were wide.
“Why so surprised? You knowingly defied me.”
“I didn’t think you were actually going to do anything.”
“You thought wrong.” Damian patted his lap. “Over my legs, ass up.”
Fletcher screwed his mouth into a crooked line.
“Do I need to repeat myself?” Damian asked in a stern, controlled voice.
Fletcher said rolling his eyes. “No, sir.”
“Then place yourself over my lap.”
Damian lifted his hands out of the way as Fletcher lay down over his thighs. It wasn’t graceful, but it got the job done. He had no doubt in time Fletcher would able to do it without fumbling around since Fletcher was a bit bratty.
“I want you to count. I believe ten swats will be sufficient punishment.”
Damian’s dick hardened. He closed his eyes and concentrated. This was all too exciting. Every inch of his dominant nature was being satisfied.
“You need to pick a safe word. It’s a code word to get me to stop if I take things too far.”
“Sir, I have the word I want,” Fletcher said.
“What is it?”
“Are you certain this is the word you want to use?” Damian asked amused. He expected the word red or something close to it. Leave it to Fletcher to choose such a gentle and soft word.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Then velvet it is.” Damian rubbed the globes of his ass with his large, calloused hands. Damian growled then exhaled a long breath.
“This is not meant to hurt you but to teach you a lesson. If this becomes too much, I want you to tell me. Do not say the word stop. Use your safe word.”
“Yes sir.” Fletcher said.
“Because of your brattiness, you will receive ten strikes. You will count them out, is that clear?”
“I am not a tyrant. Nevertheless, I am your Dominant so you will respect me as such.”
Damian placed one of his hands on the center of Fletcher’s back and ran his other hand over the twin pale globes situated right in front of him. Fletcher’s ass was perfectly rounded and curved. After one smack, as the imprint of his hand came up in a nice rosy tint, Fletcher hissed, then his dick sprung to life.
Clare On The Web:
Blog: The Embraced: Scribal Love- http://theembraced.blogspot.com/?zx=fb4cdcc18de2ce75
Welcome to MidWeek Tease, where authors share tempting snippets to tide you over till the weekend. A huge shout out to author Angelica Dawson for hosting our blog hop every week!
Last week we sampled Brett and Jen’s very first swinging date with another couple. By Book Five in the series, The Adventure Continues, they’re seasoned swingers, and they stage their very own house party. Here’s a peek at what happens later on…
Jen yawned. “Has it only been two months since we threw that party that launched Donna and Ryan?”
He thought a minute. “Yep, almost two and a half months. And they certainly are still soaring. How about us—are we still soaring?” Brett swallowed as Jen skimmed his cock until it became rock hard.
“Our sex lives have never been better,” she replied. “And you know it. Swinging has inspired us to try so many things we never would’ve thought of. Not that everything needs to be tried more than once.”
“You didn’t look like you enjoyed the cuffs.”
“Nope, not me. Works for some, but not for me. What about you, Brett—are you satisfied with what we have?”
He winced. “What you and I have is fantastic. And throwing Donna and Ryan into the mix has been fun, if not challenging at times.” He scowled. “Still, I fear getting into a rut. Will all of this become so routine it won’t matter?”
“That’s hard to imagine. I hope we don’t get jaded. We have met swingers who seem to have lost the spark.”
“How do we prevent that from happening to us?”
“I’m not sure. We probably need to listen to our own advice—remain open to surprise. Continue seeing this as an adventure to be experienced for what it is. Some of our playmates will become lifelong friends, others will fade after the newness has worn off, and others, as we know, only want a onetime encounter in the first place.”
Jen chuckled. “You’re right—the pool of playmates is quite fluid. Good that we enjoy the process of finding new prospects and that we like meeting new people. It’s been a while since I seriously looked for new contacts. Maybe it’s time.” She leaned down to bite his shoulder. “But first I want you in me.”
He raised an eyebrow as her last sentence hung between them and her neck flushed. “Where?”
MORE ABOUT THE SERIES
In our fifteen-book Swinging Games series, you can experience the thrill of anticipation, the anxious moments of that first lifestyle encounter, the heat of three, four and more-way erotic adventures, house parties, swing clubs, lifestyle resorts and more, through the eyes of our hero and heroine, Brett and Jennifer Andrews. Here’s how they got their start:
What’s a girl to do? Happily married with all her children grown, Jennifer Andrews has finally figured out she’s bisexual – but just turning on to hot f/f fiction and videos isn’t enough. She wants the real thing, and she wants to share it with Brett. Addition sounds so much better than subtraction. Will the swing lifestyle be the answer they’re seeking? They’re determined to find out.
Book One, Anticipation, is all about how much just the fantasies of what might happen send their sex life spiraling to giddy heights.
It’s no surprise that once they dip their toes into the swing lifestyle, they dive right in – for a total of fifteen adventures. We hope readers will be enticed to dive right in and revel in the fantasies Brett and Jen inspire.
If you hurry, there are two bargain ways to read this series:
Book Two is always FREE at the Extasy website:
The bundle of books One through Five is ON SALE at half price for a limited time at Extasy Books, only $5.28.
It’s easy to download Extasy ebooks to your Kindle:
1) set up an Extasy Account if you don’t already have one
2) add extasybooks.com to your approved email list in your Amazon account
3) add your device email address to your ExtasyBooks.com account
4) select the “Send to Kindle” option when you download your book
~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~
Be sure to check out the rest of the Midweek teases from these marvelous authors: