What a Reader Really Wants

There you are, perusing the new fiction in the bookstore, the noise from the café filtering into your consciousness, heard as if from within the womb. What causes you to pluck a volume off the shelf for a closer look? Maybe it has an engaging title or a great cover. You flip it over, feel […]

Our Craving for Illusion

Readers want illusion. They want to be fascinated and charmed, and why not? And we writers have to use our witchery and glamour to provide this desired state of being. It doesn’t matter what we write, as anything agreeable will do. Even when reading the daily news, a reader still appreciates the illusion of being […]

Give your Reader a Break

Once, I attended a meeting where Robert Bernstein, then president and C.E.O. of Random House, was handed a lawyer’s memo that was so dense, he refused to read it. “Where’s the white space?” he asked, not unkindly, and slid it back across the conference table. “Give your reader a break.” I felt bad for the […]

Reader in the Room

How much do you consider your reader? There are those who will tell you that if the answer is not at all, you run the risk of creating something self indulgent, myopic, too dense, too vague, too general, or too utterly pointless to interest another human being. I think this is harsh and only half […]

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