I went to many panels at Boucheron 2019, and the majority were extremely beneficial. The discussion on authors keeping their readers engaged didn’t just apply to crime, mystery, suspense, or thriller genres, but any genre. Some of the tips I took away:
- Readers are reading your book because they’re 100% invested in the characters first and solving the mystery second.
- Interesting subplots help readers bond with your characters even more.
- If you’ve seen it before, so has the reader.
- Tension and conflict are always important, but particularly in the genres mentioned above.
- Including actual historical events or figures can help move your story along.
- A scene should have a beginning, middle, and an end.
- Avoid chatty characters that aren’t really saying anything.
- An authentic voice is a must.
- Non-complimentary behavior in your characters is unexpected and is a great way to keep readers reading.
- Keeping the reader from knowing where the plot is headed is another way to keep them turning those pages.
One additional point the panel moderator Terri Bischoff (Senior Acquisitions Editor at Crooked Lane Books) added is that “The best books come through the collaboration between author and editor.”