When’s the last time you stayed up all night reading a book?
There is a fine line between a good book and book that’s so compelling you can’t put it down. But across that line is the difference between a simple bestseller and a #1 New York Times bestseller, the difference between a flash in the pan and a book that becomes a classic.
Notice one thing. It’s subtle but look for it and you’ll see it. A much higher percentage of New York Times bestselling books are written in the present tense than you’ll find in regular books. Check out the Hunger Games and many of the Seuss books if you want some examples. The present in more compelling. It’s uncomfortable, unlike it’s weak cousin, the past. The past is viewed from a great distance. It’s safe. It’s far away. We know our hero survives when they are telling the story from memory.
The present is right here, right now. It’s not safe it’s uncomfortable. You can’t stop because you have no idea what might happen in the next moment.
Practice writing in the present tense. Then go back and edit your work and take out any extra words. You’ll find it so compelling even you, the author, can’t put it down.