A Cheat Sheet for Readers_Cover

A Cheat Sheet for Readers

By on April 22, 2014 . Category Column

My uncle and I were having a conversation as readers. I had mentioned that I enjoy reading different authors, because once I figure out an author’s formula, the story seems less authentic – even if it’s fiction.  If a tale is told well, you forget that the characters aren’t real and you start to care for them. You never want to be reminded of reality when immersed in fantasy.

So there we were discussing the need for each and every book to be uniquely unique and suddenly the conversation took a turn and we delved into our personal reading patterns.  It was determined that we both are avid readers who read prior to bedtime.  It was also determined that we can never remember where we leave off in a book.  Unfortunately, in today’s day and age so much living happens in the course of 24 hours that last night might as well be a year ago.  Between the house and the job and the kids and the bills our days are crammed with activity.  Our minds are overloaded and overstimulated.  It can sometimes prove challenging hopping back into a book, especially one with flashback sequences, multiple characters, lots of locations, time travel or chapters that are simply written out of order.

Neither of us felt the answer was simpler reading.  In fact, we both enjoy book complexities, but we joked that books should come with “cheat sheets” for the modern reader.  Upon further reflection, I realized I wasn’t kidding.  Books SHOULD come with a cheat sheet – just a quick list of misc. items in the beginning of a book for easy reference.

As a writer, I always like to think as a reader.  What does my audience want?  And then I try to give it them.  The ultimate goal is to write something someone else will enjoy.  So I thought I would pass on this little tidbit from a couple of readers so you can write on…


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