Wednesday, 25 August 2010

AND NOW UNPUTDOWNABILITY (via Nick Cross)

Nick Cross, whose writing blog I really really like, put a link to his post about Unputdownability in a comment under my recent post on Page-turnability. And his is such a good and relevant post about making your writing zing with unputdownability that I simply want to send you over there.

Of course, as there are different sorts of readers, there are different things which make a book unputdownable. Racing action is only one of them, but Nick knows what his potential readers want. You need to know what your potential readers want. If your readers want something slower, something that digs its way deeper into the mind and is unputdownable because of how it traps the reader in some other way than desperately needing to know what happens next, that's fine. But whoever your readers and whatever sort of book, surely we all want to hear the words, "I just couldn't put it down."

11 comments:

Sally Zigmond said...

Thanks for sending me Nick Cross's way. He's absolutely right and I know the reason I'm finding writing my first draft of what will (with mega-luck and a following wind) will be my second pubbed novel so tough. It lacks UPDA. I don't write action stuff but I do need to make readers care about my characters and their problems and want to see them solve them. That's what I will mainly be addressing in subsequent drafts. And isn't the lack of UPDA what agents mean when they say 'I liked it but I didn't love it enough'?

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Thanks for the link, I will check him out!

Spider Griffin said...

Page-turnability and now unputdownability; I've had so many pennies dropping I heard a clang! These obvious and important aspects are only obvious when one has embraced them. I've truly had a small revelation concerning all of my writing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Nicola and Nick Cross!

:-)

Nick Cross said...

Thank you for the link Nicola - I've had some more good comments on my post about the cliff-hanging tension aspect and it does seem to be something that you can overdo. I ultimately settled for making the third act as breathless as possible but leaving the occasional space to breathe in the first two thirds of the book, which seemed to work well.

kathryn evans said...

Need a like button here LIKE.

badas2010 said...

Thanks for the link, he's added to my blogs I like list, along with yourself!
I've just twigged something about the way I work; I write the first draft without any thought to readers. I just write the story the way I want to write it, and then sit back and look at what I've got. Editing, tweaking, revising, all comes later, and that's when I think about readers. It's too late then, isn't it?

Nicola Morgan said...

badas2010 - No, it's NOT too late! In fact that's exactly what Stephen King recommends in On Writing. First draft "with the door shut", in other words just for yourself, uncritically; second draft "with the door open", in other words letting your imaginary readers listen. Go write!

Nicola Morgan said...

Sally - yes to ALL that!

Others - indeed, and thanks, and sorry i can't comment at greater length.

Candy Gourlay said...

excellent that nick!

Nick Cross said...

My blog post was very much written from the perspective of having a first draft that wasn't good enough for publication and trying to get it to that unputdownable state for the second draft (which I did, by the way, and now have an agent to prove it!)

It's never too late!

JoMacdonald said...

Hi Nicola
Thanks for this link. Just started following your blog after listening to your Make Them Say Yes talk at Ed Book Fest last week, and think I will now be following Nick too.
I'm in the process of editing my first draft of my first novel and unputdownability is something I am really really trying to achive!
Thanks
Joanne