"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." ~Victor Hugo
I had an interesting conversation with a woman yesterday who asked me if I'd read the Twilight books. (Note: if you don't know my opinion on them, here's a recap). When I admitted I'd read the first but not the other 3, she sighed and said, "I confess, I'm on the fourth one right now. I can't put them down!"
I asked her why, exactly, she loved them so much. (I'm always interested in knowing what keeps a person reading a particular book.) She said, "I'm not really sure. I think it's that I keep waiting for the big payoff."
And I thought that was such a great, honest way of putting it. Somehow, Stephenie Meyer has written a series that gets readers involved enough with the characters that they simply keep reading - through multiple books - to see if Bella and Edward WILL ACTUALLY END UP TOGETHER.
Isn't that what keeps us reading most of the time? No matter the genre or even the subject, when the author does it right, we turn the pages because we're promised some kind of payoff, some kind of resolution to all the conflict, and we simply can't wait to find out what it might be and how it might come about.
It was a good reminder for me, to continually up the ante and create believable conflict and angst when I write. We have to make the reader ache for the payoff!