5 Ways to Break the Story Spell

You sink back into your favourite chair with a new book in your hand. With a barely perceptible sigh of anticipation, you turn to the first page. Ah, there’s nothing like starting a brand new novel…

You start to read. Within minutes, you’re engrossed in the action. A thunderstorm could break, and you wouldn’t hear it. You turn the pages, immersed in the world of the story.

And then it happens. Something jars. Something is out of place.

Abruptly, you’re reminded that you’re reading. The sounds of the day become real again, and you’re back in your everyday world.

The story spell has been broken.

Sometimes, you know what it is that has jerked you away from the characters that you’re beginning to care about… perhaps an ambiguity in the text has made you re-read the paragraph, and you become aware that you’re reading for meaning. Sometimes you have no idea… there’s just something wrong. 포커사이트

As the author, the last thing you want is for your reader to be reminded that your world is not real. Sure, they know it when they first open the book – but once they start to read, they want to lose themselves in your story. Here are 5 ways you risk breaking that story spell.

1. Failing to check your work for “echoes”

It’s all too easy to unintentionally repeat a word. Basic words like ‘said’ or ‘and’ don’t really matter, because they are so common they are invisible to the reader. But for most words, you should try to avoid repetition even on the same page, let alone in the same paragraph or sentence.

For example:


“I don’t think you should go back there,” he warned. “If I were you I’d be getting out of there. They’re just waiting for you to step out of line.”


Did you spot the ‘echo’? There were two: ‘there’ and ‘out of’. If I were editing this piece, I’d change it to something like:


“I don’t think you should go back,” he warned. “They’re just waiting for you to step out of line. I’d be thinking of leaving. Fast.”


2. Beginning too many sentences with the same word

This happens most frequently with sentences starting with “He” or “She” or “I” – although sometimes it can be the character’s name that is repeated too often.

Often, a sequence of sentences that start with the same word have a very similar structure throughout. What is the result of this? The writing seems monotonous, and readers start to get bored. They become aware that they’re reading. It’s not hard to think of a way to restructure sentences to avoid this sort of repetition.


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