How To Shock Your Readers

By on October 4, 2018
How To Shock Your Readers - Writer's

No one likes to read a boring story, and a story that doesn’t shock your readers, and reveals things they don’t expect, runs the risk of being just that.

Not every story needs to be jam-packed with twists and turns at every corner. However, an action-packed story that leaves your readers feeling exhilarated, and on the edge of their seats will make them hungry to know what happens next and keep them turning those pages.

So how can you shock your readers, create tension in your story and make sure your plot packs are a real punch?

Here are some helpful tips:

Raise the stakes

Your protagonist needs to be seeking something, and the story is their journey trying to get there. To create tension and suspense, you need to raise the stakes. What are they willing to risk or lose to get what they want? What happens if they don’t succeed? Make your story a race against time, make your character willing to risk losing everything - there are so many ways to raise the stakes and doing so will keep your reader hooked.

Kill someone

As a writer, you have the power over who lives and who dies in your stories. The ultimate way to shock your readers is to kill off a character that they would never expect to die. Be brave in your choice, don’t make it someone minor that no one cares about, but someone central and who they have invested their emotions into instead.

Make your characters start to doubt themselves

Bringing doubt into a character's mind is a great way to keep readers guessing. If a character starts to question themselves, it can make readers begin to question them too. Suddenly the world they reside in is a very different place, and nothing is as it once seemed.

Add a classic plot twist

Of course, nothing works better to shock your readers than a classic plot twist! They think they know what’s going to happen next and then suddenly - Bam! Something is revealed or occurs that they could never have guessed, and it leaves them reeling. Plots twists usually work better towards the end of the novel, giving you time to tie up all the loose ends and bring the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Whichever way you decide to shock your readers it is important to remember that there are right ways and wrong ways to do so. Everything you include in your novel should advance the plot, contribute to the theme and be plausible within the confines of your story and the world you have created.

Shocking your reader can create excitement, suspense, and tension - all of which will delight your readers, so make sure you remember to add some elements of surprise in your writing and use the tips above to help you.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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