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As I was falling to sleep last night I was thinking about The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – because it seems that’s all I’ve been able to do since I started reading them a week ago. And for a while I was wondering why – why am I so wrapped up in these books? Well, one reason is that Katniss is so much like Kindra, but a character that reminds me of my own is not enough to keep me up at night. I was barely able to put either book down – every chapter ended in a cliffhanger and there were no scene ends that left me with a good place to say “I’ll stop here and continue after work/dinner/sleep/ect”.
But it was more than just cliffhanger endings and scenes that never stopped. I couldn’t put the book down because there was never a spot that was boring. There wasn’t a single moment in either book where I just wanted to get on with the exciting part. It was all exciting. There was always something happening. And I realized that the book nailed it in the middle of the Arena, when Katniss thinks that there hasn’t been enough bloodshed for the day and the audience is going to be bored soon. She knows the Gamemakers are going to have to up the stakes soon to keep it interesting, and sure enough they begin throwing balls of fire at her. And while I’m sure Katniss would have preferred not to be running from giant flaming missiles it sure did make the book exciting! I bet the audience liked it too.
We can’t all write a book where the MC has to perform for an audience and boredom = her death. But we can make our books exciting. We can raise the stakes. When Kindra began to bore me in Fie Eoin I threw an un-trained horse in her direction (she doesn’t know what a horse is, making it even more fun). When Kaye was doing nothing but flying around Aleda with her new boyfriend I flew her into an altar that knocked her unconscious and gave her visions of her ancestor trying to destroy the Faye. And when everyone is expecting Happily Ever After I kill someone at a wedding and steal the bride away.
I’m still searching for those yawn parts and upping the stakes, and in the end I hope to have a book that no one can put down.
What books have you read that you couldn’t put down?