For me, the biggest draw into a book is the voice. If I don't connect with the narrator or care about what he/she is saying, I'm not going to finish the book. I'm too slow of a reader to go through a whole book about a character I don't particularly care for. (By the way, how many pages do you read in a book before deciding whether or not to finish it?)
So, I thought I'd share one of my favorite posts on voice. Nathan Bransford is, well... amazing when it comes to helping writers understand what agents are looking for and this is no exception. How to Craft a Great Voice is a must-read for authors, especially if you keep getting rejections that say "the writing didn't grab me" or your query letter gets you partial requests, but you never get past that point.
A lot of young writers struggle with building the right mood in their scenes. Sometimes, in a fit of frustration, we'll just write some inner dialogue like, "Wow, this was tense." (And when we go back to revise it, we wonder what we were thinking.)
So, to help us all out, author Janice Hardy posted Setting Up the Tension where she gives a list of ideas to give your scene that extra tension you may be looking for.
And finally, where would we be without the Bookshelf Muse and Angela Ackerman's encyclopedia-esque lists for writers? As always, she came through with her Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Instability & Turmoil.
By the way, a friend of mine is encouraging his fellow writers to start posting short stories for the public to read online. I'm considering adding a tab at the top of this blog for that kind of thing. Is this something that would interest you?