Today I went to an allergist. If you have never been to one, then let me explain how they test you. They place minor scratches or punctures all over your back with various allergens. Now, it sounds much worse than it actually is, so stop cringing. Why do they do this? Because they want to see what reaction your skin has to determine what exact allergies you have. In other words, what gets under your skin and makes you itch?
For writers, we want to get under our reader’s skin. Not to cause itching and hives, but so the reader wants to keep reading – they HAVE to know what happens next. One of my dreams once I am published is to have a reader tell me they couldn’t put my book down and stayed up until 2 in the morning to finish it. That is what it means to get under your skin. Or if you read the last words of a book in a continuing series and your first thought is, ‘how many days until the next one comes out?’
So how do we do this as a writer? I think that it ultimately comes down to the characters. If the reader connects to those characters, roots for them and thinks of them as someone who could be their friend (or enemy) then they resonate and are harder to let go. And in the paranormal world, you throw in cool powers on top of it – how can you not be addicted?
As a reader myself, the characters draw me in and the drama (usually in the form of a big bad paranormal force) keeps me reading. Cause that force not only wants to destroy the world, but it also plays havoc on the main couple’s relationship (if it’s a romance). We CARE about what happens to those character which brings us back for more again and again.
As a writer, I hope that my manuscripts get under my reader’s skin. I want them to get sucked into my imaginary world and come back for more in the next books. So if I cause a little itching, that’s not necessary a bad thing.
What, did you think I would have a picture of itchy skin? Probably more appropriate, but so not going to happen. It’s spring which means high allergy season – stick with my line of reasoning if you can!