Page-turners don't happen by accident, they're constructed.
A handful of writers have a gift to be able draw upon story structure intuitively. (Very few.) Some writers happen upon a number of the elements of a page-turning story by accident in their first novel, almost unwittingly it seems. But it's likely they've been turning the first story around in their heads for many years.
Most writers work using multiple revisions to structure and re-structure to include make their story gripping for readers, after the first draft. We had a session at The Novelry on narrative structure with Louise Doughty recently (available in our Catch Up TV area for members). As she showed, the virtuous shape of a novel emerges in the later drafts. (We work with writers to fast-track the process, and we have a few short cuts up our sleeve to raise the work between drafts with some heavy lifting between writer and tutor.)
Writing and Re-writing...
One of our 'Hero Books' for novelists writing their novels with The Novelry is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and many of us are looking forward to the new movie adaption which airs on Netflix on October 21st.
If you don't know the story, here's the premise:
Working as a lady's companion, the orphaned heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. Whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to his brooding estate, Manderley, on the Cornish Coast, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers. Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with 'the other woman'.
Described by Sarah Waters as one of the most influential novels of all time, the famous opening line of Rebecca (1939)...