May I have Your Attention Please

When I was enjoying my daily perambulations one day last week, I caught the attention of some of my neighbours. These particular neighbours tend to be interested in whatever is going on in our garden and they meandered over to see what I was up to. I had a brief chat with them then scooted off to fetch my camera, thereby learning an important writing lesson.

Having captured our readers’ attention, it is tremendously important to hold it for long enough that they will want to hang on in and see what happens.

I had not done that with my neighbours and when I returned with my camera, they had lost interest and wandered off to seek diversion elsewhere.

So, when they returned the next day, I was prepared. I had my camera at the ready, having not only caught their attention but having also found a way to hold their interest.

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It really is that important.

Writers know that you, the reader, have to be persuaded to read our book, so we try to come up with that captivating first sentence, that intriguing first paragraph, that riveting first chapter, but it can’t end there.

As soon as we get boring, you get bored.

It’s as simple as that.

So every chapter has to hold your attention. Ideally, we want you not to be able to put our book down until you’ve finished reading the whole thing, staying up all night if that’s what it takes. Sorry, I know that’s pretty mean of us to cause you to lose your beauty sleep, but just think of the rewards. You can have our story buzzing about in your head for days afterwards. You might well feel you’ve made some great new friends of our characters.

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My granddaughters made friends with my neighbours. They even got to know them better than I do, exchanging names and contact details. Daisy is just off to the left there, and she likes to be whistled over. Primrose prefers a soft mooing sound.

Another lesson learned. It is important to connect with you, dear reader. I want to know who you are, what you like about my writing, what interests you, where I can find you, how I can reach you.

So why don’t you pop your head over the hedge and chat to me – or simply add a comment in the comment box below. I love when you do.

Whose Turn Is it in The Sun

This has been a day of sunshine and shade, starting out cloudy but developing into a glorious spring/summer day. When I took my first walk of the day, part of the time the garden was bathed in sunshine and part lost in the shade of a few large clouds.

Depending when I looked, some of my favourite flowers were basking, spreading their petals to catch every moment of warmth, others waited patiently in the shade until it was their turn again.

So what inspiration did I take from my walk today?

Well, I got to thinking how it is that, as writers, sometimes we shine a light on one character, sometimes on another. There was a time when most books were written from only one perspective, but these days readers are quite used to different parts of the story being written from different viewpoints. In most cases that is a helpful thing to do because it allows the reader to see and feel how the different characters react to what is happening. It can make for a richer reading experience.

In my last post, I included a little excerpt from Mirabelle’s viewpoint about her fashion choices when it comes to outer-wear. Today, I’d like to bring her daughter, Summer, into the light and share with you her mixed feelings about her mother’s appearance:

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Searching for Summer

Summer watched Mirabelle as she made her way to the ice-rink. It was amazing how light she was on her feet, given she was still massively overweight, even though she’d lost tons. Made you realise how ginormous the woman used to be. Can’t possibly be healthy to be that huge.
She looked stupid in her flapping dress and dripping shawls, her feet in big, furry sheepskin boots darkened by the snow that wet them. Summer tried to feel the old disgust at Mirabelle’s unique, un-cool dress code but, instead, affection and tolerance filled her heart.
Why should Mirabelle conform? Why should she be as every other mother of her old school friends: either neatly turned out in their designer outfits, or sporting clothes that no longer suited them but made them feel young and fashionable? Mirabelle was different, all Summer’s school friends had agreed on that. It used to matter, used to embarrass, frustrate, infuriate even. But now? Summer smiled. Mirabelle was exotic, even in her soaking wet state, she was bright and bouncy. Eccentric, yes, but so what? She was lovely.

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The Reluctant Detective Series

When Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, her life changes for ever. Wandering the streets of Edinburgh, living with the homeless, or trailing her daughter across Scotland, Mirabelle finds she has a gift for finding other people’s children while she’s searching for her own. Her kitchen becomes an unofficial missing persons agency, and she becomes a reluctant detective.

Searching for Summer ~ Traces of Red ~ Rusty Gold

Other books by Christine Campbell

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