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How to Engage Your Readers Like Shakespeare

Driving on autopilot on the highway

Is your reader on autopilot?

Has this happened to you?

You’re driving to work. The usual journey. On the highway. You’re listening to the radio. And thinking about the day ahead.

30 miles later you suddenly realize you’re at your exit. You’ve not noticed the other exits you passed. You’ve barely heard what they’re talking about on the radio.

As if your car has been on autopilot.

The same thing happens with your reader. His mind wanders off. He’s lulled to sleep.

How can you wake him up? And keep him engaged?

Surprise him:

  • Use the occasional profanity if it suits your style.
  • Introduce an unexpected analogy.
  • Tell a new story.
  • Use words in an unusual way – just like Shakespeare. For instance: He used nouns as verbs – he godded me.

Avoid your reader’s autopilot. Keep him engaged with surprises. Be different.

Image credit: Kevin Dooley (adapted)

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