A Reader’s Manifesto for Writers !

16 Expectations Every Reader Has, extracted from Lisa Cron’s Wired For Story :

  1. The reader expects that everything in a story is there strictly on a need-to-know basis, even the weather.
  2. The reader expects to feel something, all the time.
  3. The reader expects to feel what the protagonist feels.
  4. The reader expects that the protagonist will want something, and will fear something that keeps her from fulfilling that desire.
  5. The reader expects that everything that happens will in some way affect the protagonist.
  6. The reader expects the protagonist to react to everything that happens.
  7. The reader expects that everything that happens will in some way affect the outcome of the “story question.”
  8. The reader expects that something will be at stake in every scene.
  9. The reader expects that as the protagonist tries to solve the story question, he will make things worse.
  10. The reader expects the protagonist will have to overcome both expected and unexpected hurdles to attain her goal.
  11. The reader expects those hurdles to be both external events and internal fears.
  12. The reader expects that every setup will have a payoff, which the story will build toward.
  13. The reader expects that every subplot and flashback will in some way affect the main storyline.
  14. The reader expects that the protagonist will be forced to confront things he’s probably spent his entire life avoiding.
  15. The reader expects the protagonist to struggle to make sense of what’s happening to him.
  16. The reader expects that the protagonist will emerge changed by his story, and that she, the reader, will emerge changed by it, as well.

I think we just have to be careful with these rules and avoid to give to an audience, exactly what he wants. So, we have to avoid the confusion between, reader’s expectations and what he wants. For exemple, some television network try to do so, and have created what we call now « trash Tv ». A Stephen King book, the running man, is a good warning to prevent us to do that.

The Running Man by  Richard Bachman

Running-Man2

Adaptated on the big screen by Yves Boisset

(english title : The price of peril 1983)

PriceOfperil

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