Immediate, Engaging, Commercial (Video)
As a writer, you want your story to be a success. But what makes a story stand out to readers? How can you ensure that you’re capturing their hearts and minds? The answer can be summarized in three words: Immediate, Engaging, Commercial. These are the key elements that we see again and again in serialized storytelling, regardless of the genre. Let’s explore these three essential elements in more detail.
Immediate means that your story gets right to the point. Your first chapter should make your premise clear and give your audience a taste of the reading experience they’re about to have. A story that is immediate gives readers a reason to invest in your story right away. This can be achieved through a compelling hook or conflict.
Be sure to hook readers in with the central conflict and why they should emotionally invest in your story. Whether it’s the heart-stopping first meeting of soulmates or the shocking discovery of a gruesome murder in a sleepy town, your first chapter should make a promise to the reader about the story to come. From chapter 1, your reader should be thinking, “Wow. This is why I picked up this story.”
Engaging means that your story has unique characters with strong motivations. These motivations can be portrayed or hinted at in the hook. Creating an engaging story also means that you know what your audience wants and you give it to them (or don't, to increase tension). Leaving your readers with that feeling of “but what happens next” by cliffhangers gives them a reason to come back to your story with every update.
To keep your readers invested, your story has to be engaging and needs a core story engine that pushes your narrative forward. Having this engine enables you to build from that, developing story arcs from different characters or taking stories in different directions. Serialized storytelling means that readers will be with your characters for a long time, so you must keep them engaged.
Commercial means that your story should appeal to fans of the genre and embrace (or subvert) tropes while being accessible. It doesn’t mean your story has to be cookie-cutter and follow the same generic characters and plots you’ve read before. But it does mean that your story has to exhibit genuine, relatable emotions that appeal to readers.
Use tropes that are in the genre, make them accessible, and ensure that your story stays accessible even when dealing with deeper themes, like heartbreak, grief, or mental health.
The Immediate, Engaging, Commercial method is an effective way to ensure your story stands out and resonates with readers. To make sure that your story checks these three boxes, ask yourself: What is the core hook that’s grabbing my reader’s attention? What’s driving my story forward?
Make your hook clear in the first chapter, keep your story engaging, and ensure that it’s accessible to readers of your genre space. While there is no magic formula for writing a successful story, focusing on these three key elements will undoubtedly increase your chances of success. So, get writing and make your story shine!
Explore our downloadable guide that covers 'Immediate', one of the key elements in making a story a hit. Click the image below to access the guide.