Rules of Engagement: How To Get (& Keep) A Reader Involved In Your Novel

At the RMC-SCBWI 2005 Fall Conference one of the speakers was Cheryl Klein, Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. Klein's talk on The Rules of Engagement: How to Get (and Keep!) A Reader Involved in Your Novel is a rare opportunity to understand, from an editor's point of view, what it is that makes a manuscript work and what keeps it from working.

Klein graciously allowed Children Come First to produce an eBook of her talk. It's divided into three parts.

  • The first part of the eBook talks about how to get and keep a reader involved in your novel. Klein lists the various things she sees in manuscripts that knock her out of the characters' brains or worldsâ€"little tiny things, pacing questions, word choices even, that distract and dislodge her from the story.
  • The second part, How to Disengage Your Reader in Ten Easy Steps, goes through ten different things writers need to avoid doing if they want to keep the readers engaged in the story.
  • The eBook wraps up its third part with a transcript of the question and answer session from the RMC-SCBWI conference.

  • Feel free to email this blog to friends. There's an "Email link" at the end of the blog you can use or you can just send them this page's URL. The eBook was produced by Children Come First and is graciously being offered free of charge by its author. Remember to click the "bookmarks" tab to navigate thru the document once you receive it.

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    1. Anonymous11/17/2005

      Loved it! Thanks so much for sharing the e-book, Rules of Engagement. I'm now wondering if my novel meets up with what's necessary to keep the reader involved, and and I wonder if the ending gives a proper pay-off... I think so... I may have to reread a couple sections.

    2. Hi Kelsey, thanks for letting us know how you liked Klein's eBook. We're thrilled at the wonderful reception it's getting. In just the two days we announced its availability over 150 folks wrote in and requested it! :-)
      I LOVED listening to Cheryl speak at our Fall'05 RMC-SCBWI conference. I was elated when she offered to share her notes with writers everywhere. Thanks again for coming back and letting us know you liked it.

    3. You're soooooo right, Debra, in your comments! I loved the brilliant simplicity with which Klein shared the basics. Her suggestions are good for both published and yet-to-be-published writers to keep in mind.