Reining in the Reader

Have you picked up a book that caught your interest because of the title, as well as the genre you like? I look at titles first since that is what first grabs me only, at times, to find when I read the first paragraph I already want to put the book down. Why? It is because the story begins with an overload of scenery descriptions, back story or just doesn’t grab me enough to make me want to continue reading.

When I write a mystery (my favorite genre) I begin with a paragraph that will draw the reader into the scene, the character(s) first presented which of course, includes the protagonist, and characterizations that will let the reader have an idea of how the mix intertwines. All of this is done with wording that is brief but to the point. The reader will then move on to the next page and all the pages after that because a momentum has been established early on and continues until the last sentence.

Sometimes I start with the crime itself without giving clues away. I pick out a paragraph that will stun the reader and then continue with the story and how the characters reached this point.

I use alliterations once or twice in the book for diversity and fun; try to give the reader enough to not tell it all, but to allow the reader to imagine being a part of the story. Many readers have told me when they read “Heart of the Wheat Shaft – Mystery in Nebraska Wheatland” they couldn’t put the book down. That is the highest compliment a writer can receive in my eyes. (

My next book will be the first of a series called The Beatrice Chandler Mystery Series. The first book is titled “Disappearance in Plain Country.” The story centers around a small Amish child who is kidnapped at an Amish Quilt auction. All settings for the series are in Missouri, my home State.

(excerpt from upcoming book:) “Shock registered with me like an unexpected current zigzagging through me with no shut-off switch. Reuben’s voice quivered. Tears fringed his eyelids. I edged closer and my eyes wandered around the small group of Amish for a little boy who I knew in my heart was not there.” (“Disappearance in Plain Country.”)




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