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Captivate Your Readers: An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction

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This third guide to writing compelling fiction by respected editor and award-winning author Jodie Renner provides concrete advice for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world. It’s all about engaging readers through the use of techniques such as deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and basically stepping back and let This third guide to writing compelling fiction by respected editor and award-winning author Jodie Renner provides concrete advice for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world. It’s all about engaging readers through the use of techniques such as deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and basically stepping back and letting the characters tell the story. Today’s readers want to lose themselves in an absorbing story. Renner shows you how to provide the immediacy and emotional involvement readers crave in fiction, and she does it in her usual highly accessible, reader-friendly style, with plenty of concrete tips and examples. Chapters include: • 12 Essential Steps from Story Idea to Publish-Ready Novel • Checklist for Creating Fiction Readers Can’t Put Down • 33 Must-Do’s for Writing a Winning Short Story • Create a Complex, Charismatic Main Character • Character Descriptions – Learn From the Pros • Those Critical First Five Pages • Introduction to Point of View in Fiction • Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View • How to Avoid Head-Hopping • Let the Characters Tell the Story • 10 Ways to Add Depth to Your Scenes • How to Keep Your Dialogue Real and Riveting • Tips for Showing instead of Telling • How to Avoid Annoying Author Intrusions


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This third guide to writing compelling fiction by respected editor and award-winning author Jodie Renner provides concrete advice for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world. It’s all about engaging readers through the use of techniques such as deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and basically stepping back and let This third guide to writing compelling fiction by respected editor and award-winning author Jodie Renner provides concrete advice for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world. It’s all about engaging readers through the use of techniques such as deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and basically stepping back and letting the characters tell the story. Today’s readers want to lose themselves in an absorbing story. Renner shows you how to provide the immediacy and emotional involvement readers crave in fiction, and she does it in her usual highly accessible, reader-friendly style, with plenty of concrete tips and examples. Chapters include: • 12 Essential Steps from Story Idea to Publish-Ready Novel • Checklist for Creating Fiction Readers Can’t Put Down • 33 Must-Do’s for Writing a Winning Short Story • Create a Complex, Charismatic Main Character • Character Descriptions – Learn From the Pros • Those Critical First Five Pages • Introduction to Point of View in Fiction • Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View • How to Avoid Head-Hopping • Let the Characters Tell the Story • 10 Ways to Add Depth to Your Scenes • How to Keep Your Dialogue Real and Riveting • Tips for Showing instead of Telling • How to Avoid Annoying Author Intrusions

57 review for Captivate Your Readers: An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I've read & loved all of Jodie's books, so when I was offered an ARC in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the deal. This book definitely did not disappoint. Because I have read so many books on writing and have a couple of my own books under my belt, some of it was a great refresher, but there was also some brand new information that I know will benefit me. Needless to say, I took a lot of notes and will be revisiting this book often. I highly recommend to any writer--seasoned or just sta I've read & loved all of Jodie's books, so when I was offered an ARC in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the deal. This book definitely did not disappoint. Because I have read so many books on writing and have a couple of my own books under my belt, some of it was a great refresher, but there was also some brand new information that I know will benefit me. Needless to say, I took a lot of notes and will be revisiting this book often. I highly recommend to any writer--seasoned or just starting out. I also recommend her blog posts. She's a pretty amazing editor AND writer, and always has the most incredible information to share. Thanks for another excellent book, Jodie!

  2. 5 out of 5

    John W.

    CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS will help any fiction writer improve their writing techniques. In this third book in her series of guides to writing compelling fiction, Renner focuses on putting life into stories by bringing the characters to life and capturing the readers’ attention and compelling them to keep reading. Writers will find this book to be user-friendly, providing advice with examples on how to engage the readers emotionally and keep them reading. Renner gives guidance on how to create a di CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS will help any fiction writer improve their writing techniques. In this third book in her series of guides to writing compelling fiction, Renner focuses on putting life into stories by bringing the characters to life and capturing the readers’ attention and compelling them to keep reading. Writers will find this book to be user-friendly, providing advice with examples on how to engage the readers emotionally and keep them reading. Renner gives guidance on how to create a direct connection between the characters and the readers. Renner’s guide helps writers understand the importance of telling the story from the character’s point of view to connect to the readers. CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction gives the writer examples of techniques of character development to bring the story to life and involve the readers in the process. Using the guide’s table of contents, writers will easily find examples of techniques of character development and ways to write compelling fiction that will captivate the readers. CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS is a must-have guide for writers and earns a 5 star ranking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rae Knightly

    A must-read for budding and advanced writers. "Captivate Your Readers" will help the budding writer, the aspiring author and the advanced novelist to improve their craft. Jodie Renner will guide you step-by-step with the aid of excellent examples so that your writing is bound to capture the reader's attention. For my part, it is after reading "Captivate Your Readers" that I decided to take the plunge and write my very first novel in first person present tense. I would never have known how much I A must-read for budding and advanced writers. "Captivate Your Readers" will help the budding writer, the aspiring author and the advanced novelist to improve their craft. Jodie Renner will guide you step-by-step with the aid of excellent examples so that your writing is bound to capture the reader's attention. For my part, it is after reading "Captivate Your Readers" that I decided to take the plunge and write my very first novel in first person present tense. I would never have known how much I would enjoy doing this if not for Jodie Renner's book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie J. Pierson

    Renner’s latest writing craft book, “Captivate Your Readers: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction,” is an excellent resource for both beginners and seasoned writers. It is well written, informative, and easy-to-read. She illustrates her points clearly with well-chosen passages from published and unpublished works. Her enthusiasm coupled with her knowledge of the subject makes this a must-have book for any writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    A lot of good advice in this book. I found the examples very helpful too. A great way to reinforce the advice she gives. THis book is one that I would happily refer to again.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    I enjoy reading non-fiction books when they are books that are instructive in improving my writing. I have an overflowing shelf of writing instruction books. Many of them have highlights, notes in the margins, and post-it notes sticking out of them. I love learning how to do something to make my stories better. I have read Jodie Renner’s first book in this series, Fire Up Your Fiction and own Writing a Killer Thriller, but I have not gotten around to reading it yet. As a budding writer, I would I enjoy reading non-fiction books when they are books that are instructive in improving my writing. I have an overflowing shelf of writing instruction books. Many of them have highlights, notes in the margins, and post-it notes sticking out of them. I love learning how to do something to make my stories better. I have read Jodie Renner’s first book in this series, Fire Up Your Fiction and own Writing a Killer Thriller, but I have not gotten around to reading it yet. As a budding writer, I would love to get advice from a fiction editor and that is exactly what readers will get when they read these three writing books from Jodie Renner. She is a highly-sought after fiction editor who shares her experience and advice pretty cheaply. I enjoy how Renner divides the book into tiny chapters. The book features six bigger parts with little chapters in each section. I enjoyed how Renner included a button to help the e-readers readers to return to the table of contents if they are done reading a certain chapter. There are tons of examples to entice the reader into learning how to see the difference in their writing in the before and after examples. You can learn a lot by comparing the before examples to the after ones. There were also tips, techniques, and examples to engage the writer with the actual text. However, there were techniques and questions to avoid. Another thing I enjoyed was the words of advice from other popular writing books. If you enjoyed how Renner was showing an element such as Deep POV, then you could read more examples from other books. Two chapters, Sensory Details Suck Your Reader In and Show Characters Reactions to Bring Them to Life, appear to be chapters that I will have to spend more time on and come back to. One quick read through for this review would not give justice to the words and exercises showed in the chapters. I probably will find more chapters on another read through to highlight and study. Overall, Jodie Renner’s latest writing release, Captivate Your Readers, does exactly that. It offers writing advice to budding writers who do not have lot of time on their head and want to spend a couple of hours working on their skill. Plus, it draws connections to other writing books in the craft to further study. I highly recommend this book. I received an ARC copy of Jodie Renner’s Captivate Your Readers in exchange for any honest review. All opinions stated above are all my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marlene Moss

    Captivate Your Readers is a great book for both new and experienced writers. So many little things feel natural or we’re subliminally convinced by reading other books that telling is perfectly ok. But there’s just no reason to share sub-par work with CPs or Betas or, worse, agents, when Jodie Renner’s book does such a great job of not only pointing them out, but explaining why they don’t work, and offering suggestions on how to fix. Using powerful language is just the tip of subjects covered. It Captivate Your Readers is a great book for both new and experienced writers. So many little things feel natural or we’re subliminally convinced by reading other books that telling is perfectly ok. But there’s just no reason to share sub-par work with CPs or Betas or, worse, agents, when Jodie Renner’s book does such a great job of not only pointing them out, but explaining why they don’t work, and offering suggestions on how to fix. Using powerful language is just the tip of subjects covered. It doesn’t matter how well you write technically if you don’t have complex, fascinating characters – both protagonist and antagonist, as well as a supporting cast. The POV has to work, provide scintillating information without confusing the readers. And your scenes must feel real, visualized, but not over-described. Ms. Rener’s examples and tips will leave you itching to sparkle up your ms or start a new project. This book fits great with her others, but functions just fine on its own. And each chapter can be worked as a standalone. The e-books has links to quickly move from one topic to another or just read straight through like I did and take notes or work on your ms while learning. Her chapters are short, each with a single concept along with perfect examples. The book also refers to other great writing books that focus in more details on a certain topic. And for those of you more experienced, but still fighting show vs tell, you’ll love that chapter. Ms Renner explains that concept better than most I’ve seen. The book ends with some great checkpoint lists – no ms should make it into an agent's inbox without these lists being gone through at least once.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

    I read this book as a beta reader and was immediately captivated by the style and writing of the book. Even if this book is a non-fiction book, the author delivers what she promises to teach you: she captivates with her writing. I made several interesting observations about myself, while reading this book. I felt I was reading a two-fold book: an anatomy book about writing and a cookbook how to write successful and, yes, captivating fiction. I found a clearly presented and explained body of writin I read this book as a beta reader and was immediately captivated by the style and writing of the book. Even if this book is a non-fiction book, the author delivers what she promises to teach you: she captivates with her writing. I made several interesting observations about myself, while reading this book. I felt I was reading a two-fold book: an anatomy book about writing and a cookbook how to write successful and, yes, captivating fiction. I found a clearly presented and explained body of writing fiction. Further, successful fictional works where dissected in front of me, the heart, the brain and the muscles exposed and presented separately and together, so that I could understand their functions alone and together. And then I found a lot of recipes, revealing optimum measures for cooking a delightful peace of fiction. The book made me stop again and again. It made me contemplate and brainstorm on my work in progress. Every time I had a light-bulb experience (and there were plenty of them) I had an urge to apply this to my work. Which I did. I am sure to come back to this book again and again in my life as a writer, which started several years ago and will never end. So, my print version will definitely get a lot of dog ears. And so will yours. Guaranteed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    E.A. Briginshaw

    I'm not a big fan of books that try to tell you the "formula" for being successful (e.g. Tips for composing a top-10 hit song), or in this case, how to write a successful novel. In particular, I didn't like the parts that said you have to say "Yes" to all attributes in a checklist. Some of the most successful artists (composers, poets, authors) are the ones who broke the rules. Authors should tell their story in their own unique way. Having said that, this book does contain a lot of valuable inf I'm not a big fan of books that try to tell you the "formula" for being successful (e.g. Tips for composing a top-10 hit song), or in this case, how to write a successful novel. In particular, I didn't like the parts that said you have to say "Yes" to all attributes in a checklist. Some of the most successful artists (composers, poets, authors) are the ones who broke the rules. Authors should tell their story in their own unique way. Having said that, this book does contain a lot of valuable information that authors should be aware of and think about when they write.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve Hooley

    Captivate Your Readers is a craft book worth adding to your arsenal if you're a writer. Topics include character development, hooking the reader with the opening, use of deep POV to engage the reader, showing (vs. telling) to help readers experience every nail-biting detail, how to immerse your readers in the story world, and how to spark up your style for more tension and intrigue. This book will help you learn how to write fiction that readers can't put down. Captivate Your Readers is a craft book worth adding to your arsenal if you're a writer. Topics include character development, hooking the reader with the opening, use of deep POV to engage the reader, showing (vs. telling) to help readers experience every nail-biting detail, how to immerse your readers in the story world, and how to spark up your style for more tension and intrigue. This book will help you learn how to write fiction that readers can't put down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Beatty

    An incredibly useful guide for writers. This book is filled with excellent advice about what you need to do AND NOT DO in order to write compelling fiction and get published. It covers characterization, point of view, setting, tension, and all the important principles of good fiction writing. If you read this book and follow its suggestions, it will take your writing to the next level.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Combs

    This book is a winner. I found the writing craft recommendations on target with lots of excellent examples. The reader-friendly format and insightful content make it a great instructional read as well as a tool to reach for whenever one’s writing is feeling ‘off’. Highly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Adams

    I couldn't put this book down! An editing book that's both educational and entertaining. "Captivate Your Readers" is my newest go to writing resource. I couldn't put this book down! An editing book that's both educational and entertaining. "Captivate Your Readers" is my newest go to writing resource.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue Lilley

    I was a bit disappointed with this. It was more of a standard “how-to” book than I expected. It was obviously good, well written and informative. I was just expecting a little bit more because of the title. “Captivate” implies something special, not just run-of-the-mill writing advice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann Thomas

    A really useful book, laid out clearly and with lots of helpful advice. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roberto

    “Captivate Your Readers” is Jodie Renner’s third guide in writing craft after “Fire Up Your Fiction” and “Writing a Killer Thriller”, but is independent of the two other works. In terms of content it deals with the tension and excitement of readers, which ideally is created within every good book. “Captivate Your Readers” is not a work that counts the most important facts being a successful author, but rather addresses the creation of suspense of readers, in any and every possible way. At first, “Captivate Your Readers” is Jodie Renner’s third guide in writing craft after “Fire Up Your Fiction” and “Writing a Killer Thriller”, but is independent of the two other works. In terms of content it deals with the tension and excitement of readers, which ideally is created within every good book. “Captivate Your Readers” is not a work that counts the most important facts being a successful author, but rather addresses the creation of suspense of readers, in any and every possible way. At first, the author gives attention to the core of a novel, the characters. After that tips and suggestions on the beginning of a novel, the chosen point of view and Show vs. Tell, the favorite topic of authors, follow. After these basic topics the author gets to the core of the topic in how to captivate readers, so they cannot set your novel aside. The author concludes with specific advice and check lists of the aforementioned chapters and also three appendices, which cover frequent mistakes. The author describes the content from the angle of an editor. This alone is helpful already, because an author sees his text differently from an editor. Jodie Renner does not raise a warning finger to the author, but rather stays calm and sober with her explanations. These are explained understandably and almost every time proven by showing a text in need of improvement before a better version is shown and explained. For readers that cannot get enough, there are always sources for further reading, which even are linked in some cases. As subscriber of many blogs around the craft of writing I already knew of most facts about creating captivating characters, nonetheless the later chapters included many tips, of those I did not know of. “Captivate Your Readers” is a helpful reference book for writers and those who want to be writers. Even though the work is part of a series, it also can be read as a standalone. The suggestions and explanations can be used universally and not set on certain genres, after all, excitement is one of the most important components in writing altogether.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara Alemany

    Although I'm a nonfiction author, not a fiction writer, I found this book to be engaging and informative. I do a lot of editing for other writers (some fiction), so felt that it will help me to advise other writers better on how to improve their story lines. Some of the information did seem like common sense, but it's well articulated and things that we don't always think about. It's like the difference between being aware of a tree and noting enough detail about it to be able to describe and mak Although I'm a nonfiction author, not a fiction writer, I found this book to be engaging and informative. I do a lot of editing for other writers (some fiction), so felt that it will help me to advise other writers better on how to improve their story lines. Some of the information did seem like common sense, but it's well articulated and things that we don't always think about. It's like the difference between being aware of a tree and noting enough detail about it to be able to describe and make someone else understand what it is. Jodie does a great job of describing not just what to do, but why to do it. She brings everything more clearly into our focus through her instruction.

  18. 4 out of 5

    J.R.

    I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review Captivate Your Readers contains plenty of useful suggestions on what to do as well as what to avoid in fiction writing. There are clear examples of most of the points raised, allowing you to see the difference any specific changes make to the quality of writing. Far from being monotonous, there is a light-hearted feel to the instruction with a dusting of humour as well as quotes from other authours. I feel that this book would b I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review Captivate Your Readers contains plenty of useful suggestions on what to do as well as what to avoid in fiction writing. There are clear examples of most of the points raised, allowing you to see the difference any specific changes make to the quality of writing. Far from being monotonous, there is a light-hearted feel to the instruction with a dusting of humour as well as quotes from other authours. I feel that this book would be beneficial for both writers beginning their journey, or the more experienced writer, looking for a little advice.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I received this book as a beta reader and was immediately impressed by the 'reader friendly' ease in navigating this book. Chapters are broken down into subheadings, making it excellent and easily accessed for reference. The content consists of comprehensive and thought-provoking aspects of writing. It digs right down to the 'meat and potatoes' of layering characters with strengths and flaws as well as the pitfalls of weak writing. Many examples are offered so that the lesson offered is understo I received this book as a beta reader and was immediately impressed by the 'reader friendly' ease in navigating this book. Chapters are broken down into subheadings, making it excellent and easily accessed for reference. The content consists of comprehensive and thought-provoking aspects of writing. It digs right down to the 'meat and potatoes' of layering characters with strengths and flaws as well as the pitfalls of weak writing. Many examples are offered so that the lesson offered is understood. This editor's candid point of view is invaluable on so many levels; I would highly recommend this book to writers of any genre.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Anne

    This book is a good overview of everything you want to keep in mind while writing your novel or short story. It covers everything from developing characters to your opening to creating tension and suspense. It even includes a checklist for writing your novel or short story. While not an in-depth book on any one topic, it's a good reminder of all the balls you want to juggle as you write. It's also a good refresher to read after you've finished your first draft and are beginning your revisions. It This book is a good overview of everything you want to keep in mind while writing your novel or short story. It covers everything from developing characters to your opening to creating tension and suspense. It even includes a checklist for writing your novel or short story. While not an in-depth book on any one topic, it's a good reminder of all the balls you want to juggle as you write. It's also a good refresher to read after you've finished your first draft and are beginning your revisions. It will help you look at your draft with fresh eyes. Recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie Whitley

    This is a great book for both new and experienced writers. The advice Jodie provides is concrete and achievable, full of 'aha' moments that make you want to sit down and put her tips into practice. It is also an excellent resource, just to dip in when having an issue and come back out with a fresh approach. I will always keep this book handy while I write. This is a great book for both new and experienced writers. The advice Jodie provides is concrete and achievable, full of 'aha' moments that make you want to sit down and put her tips into practice. It is also an excellent resource, just to dip in when having an issue and come back out with a fresh approach. I will always keep this book handy while I write.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Francisca Todi

    A great resource for beginner authors. This book is a comprehensive guide, yet short enough to be digested quickly by busy writers. It carefully lists every crucial element you need in your book and provides examples where needed. As someone who has read a lot of writing books, though, I don't find many new materials, so it depends where you are as an author. A great resource for beginner authors. This book is a comprehensive guide, yet short enough to be digested quickly by busy writers. It carefully lists every crucial element you need in your book and provides examples where needed. As someone who has read a lot of writing books, though, I don't find many new materials, so it depends where you are as an author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    All the time, I had always been so sure of my writing ability. I had no idea! In spite of my being an avid reader, when it came to writing, it turned out that I was guilty of many of the don'ts Jodie Renner pointed out in her excellent guide. She's inspired me to want to retrieve my dusty drafts and start over again. All the time, I had always been so sure of my writing ability. I had no idea! In spite of my being an avid reader, when it came to writing, it turned out that I was guilty of many of the don'ts Jodie Renner pointed out in her excellent guide. She's inspired me to want to retrieve my dusty drafts and start over again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jaroslav Tuček

    This book is actually very good - something of a pleasant surprise after having browsed through a couple o mediocre books on writing. There is a lot of great advice here on character, storytelling and point of view choices. Renner's own writing is captivating enough and as a professional editor she is in a position to offer some unique insights. Definitely recommended. This book is actually very good - something of a pleasant surprise after having browsed through a couple o mediocre books on writing. There is a lot of great advice here on character, storytelling and point of view choices. Renner's own writing is captivating enough and as a professional editor she is in a position to offer some unique insights. Definitely recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia Ney

    I was able to read this book as a "beta reader" and was immediately struck by how helpful this could be for writers at all levels. While compellingly useful for beginners, I found helpful nuggets for the more experienced author as well. I was able to read this book as a "beta reader" and was immediately struck by how helpful this could be for writers at all levels. While compellingly useful for beginners, I found helpful nuggets for the more experienced author as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steven Atwood

    Loved it Jodie demonstrated some great techniques to get your readers engaged. Her easy to read writing and I can't wait to use some of the tips she put in this book. Loved it Jodie demonstrated some great techniques to get your readers engaged. Her easy to read writing and I can't wait to use some of the tips she put in this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brian Switzer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edward Vogler

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Johnson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Bowman

  31. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Gunning

  32. 4 out of 5

    N.

  33. 4 out of 5

    Coleen

  34. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Mccain

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kay Butz

  36. 4 out of 5

    Chris Taylor

  37. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

  38. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Macdonald

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lamar

  40. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sweetpea

  42. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Cole Marie Mckinnon

  43. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  44. 4 out of 5

    Glenda Poulter

  45. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  46. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  47. 5 out of 5

    Skhan

  48. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  49. 5 out of 5

    Camille

  50. 4 out of 5

    Benoit

  51. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  52. 5 out of 5

    Melitta Cross

  53. 5 out of 5

    Kme_17

  54. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  55. 5 out of 5

    Craig Dean

  56. 5 out of 5

    Truman

  57. 5 out of 5

    Cathyann

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