guest post

Advice for Writers from a Reader Who Loves to Support Writers: Guest Chris Graham (TSRA)

Hey all! Happy day! I’m so excited to introduce to you (and you to) Chris Graham aka The Story Reading Ape as a guest on the blog. Chris is a super supporter of authors and if you haven’t you’d do well to swing over and follow his blog. Chris offers so many free services to authors as well as helping with book design. He’s encouraging and helpful, scowering the world of blogs for worthwhile information to share too. I appreciate his hard work and his dedication, not to mention his insights. And today he’s here to answer some questions and offer some helpful advice.

Thanks for coming over Chris!

Chris Graham, Guest to the blog:

My thanks to Rachael for her kind offer to post an article from me – also for the challenge she set me for the topic:

  • From a reader standpoint, offer some advice, maybe something you’ve learned from all your reading experience, about what works and what doesn’t for grabbing reader’s attention, specifically in sci-fi and fantasy books.
  • Another thing I’d be interested in knowing is about your favourite book.
  • What about that book has brought you back to its pages over and over?

Bearing in mind that I’m not a writer of anything apart from the occasional blog post, I don’t feel I have any authority to give advice about writing, apart from my two pet peeves and biggest disruptors of reading enjoyment:


5556476 - abstract colourful alphabet blocks to background
A Licensed to use image. Copyright: ragnarocks / 123RF Stock Photo

Pay Attention to Spelling!

Note, I do NOT mean the spelling differences between British / American / or any other english language variations.

We should all know by now, especially in this age of the Internet, that spelling differences between English language nations is a fact, therefore, if we leave a review comment criticising an author because their spelling is different from ours, we merely demonstrate our ignorance (in the unknowing sense, not the rude sense) and lack of tolerance.

I mean the differences in spelling between words that SOUND the same, but have entirely different meanings; like grate and great, bear and bare, here and hear, sight and site (the most common error I’ve found), etc.

9468057 - two boys sitting on a green lawn with white flowers and read a book
A Licensed to use image Copyright: olgacov / 123RF Stock Photo

Check the flow of the story!

Sentences should flow smoothly enough to allow the reader’s own imagination to enter the world within the story and go with that flow to produce a ‘mind movie’.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find any hesitation or break in that flow causes my mind movie to falter and my attention to wander off track and quickly become lost (Oh look – a BIRD 😀 )

New chapters are probably the best way to change points of view, or insert divergences from the main storyline, as in a backstory detail / explanation for example.  But keep these to a minimum, both in frequency and length.


If a story is read aloud and listened to, most disruptions to the story flow become readily apparent and can be marked for correction.

Adapted from a Licensed to use image. Copyright: amasterpics123 / 123RF Stock Photo

Favourite Book(s)?

Although I have many favourite books, series and authors, the older I get, the less likely it is that I’ll return and re-read them, unless they contain facts / information I might need to refresh my mind about, or, I get a sudden, unexplainable yearning to re-read a particular story or series.

Mainly, I want to read new stories and discover new authors.



What works to grab my attention to any book?

26076995 - 3d man leaning against red question mark and thinking over white background
A Licensed to use image. Copyright: amasterpics123 / 123RF Stock Photo

It should come as no surprise that when faced with shelves full of potential reads, the cover and title will catch my attention first, with the blurb sealing the deal – especially if it’s by an author whose works I’ve not read before.

If anyone would like to discover and learn about new authors (and their books), click HERE to find over 500 of them I’ve had as guests on my blog to date.

If you are a writer / author / poet, check out my Blog Resources Tab.

tsra-logo-300x300Chris Graham aka The Story Reading Ape (TSRA)


Online Links:

103 thoughts on “Advice for Writers from a Reader Who Loves to Support Writers: Guest Chris Graham (TSRA)”

  1. Great post and fab guest blogger. I’d only argue with Chris stating he isn’t a “writer”. Eh… He’s a wonderful supporter of authors but he, quite obviously, can write well. And is a good adviser. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Rachael. Thanks so much for this delightful visit with the Ape. I enjoyed it very much.
    Chris ~~ I won’t argue anything with a Great Ape… even though I’d like to disagree about your comment that you are”not a writer.” Either way, you would be a great *teacher* of writing… Professor Ape. 😀 Mega hugs all around.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He certainly is! As are you, Nicholas. Thank you so much for stopping in. 😀 The invitation is open, and if you’d ever like to sit down with me here on the blog and do a guest post, I’d love to have you. I was pretty excited when Chris said he’d do it, I gotta say! He’s had be on his blog before. Such a gracious host he is too.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for these great tips Chris, and you too Rachel for hosting such an interesting site. It’s appreciated.

    I was especially impressed about how reading your story aloud helps you see errors and breaks in the flow. I have never really thought about it before, but it makes perfect sense.

    There is a load of stuff in psychology about how the intelligent eye edits what you read; mentally correcting little words missed out or duplicated in the the text without ever noticing. There is also something about the mind correcting spellings especially if the frist and last letters of word are right. (Really coarse examples I know… Apologies!).

    I think it is even more dangerous when reading your own stuff back because in your head the test is perfect. Read out loud you are hearing it for the first time, and so are using different neural pathways to process it.

    It’s a great observation from Chris & certainly something I will be doing in future!

    I also like the spelling tip.

    I often have a favourite word in my head that I’m just bursting to use… then look it up and find it’s entirely wrong… wrong spelling, wrong context, or even more shamefully… it actually doesn’t actually exist. Thank God for the internet!

    Off now to check out Chris’ blog and looking forward to many happy hours exploring.

    Keep up the great work.

    Cheers & thanks


    Liked by 2 people

          1. Rachel – funny you should say that. Ever since reading Chris yesterday I have been thinking about something Gore Vidal wrote in his memoirs about his old mate Tennessee Williams. I am quite new to the technicalities of blogging so I really don’t know how to do this. I’ll knock it up and get it over to you to see if you like it. How does that sound? Best Paul

            Liked by 2 people

      1. Well… he taught me about ping backs ( he had to dumb down instructions and step by step pictures), and he didn’t laugh. (well i didn’t hear him.) When i lost four posts in two days. He even likes some of my stories! Not to mention tips and hints on writing. The things virtual friends /connections can do… *sigh*

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Rachael Ritchey has succeeded where many have failed…to catch sight of the elusive and shy Story Reading Ape who tends to stick to his own enclosure rather than venture forth.. Well done Rachael and as always The Ape dispenses great advice to writers… I have enjoyed his brand of hospitality on a number of occasions and it is a ‘must’ for all authors..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We have been fans of Chris, almost since the first day we started blogging. Always so very helpful and kind, a real friend in this crazy blogosphere! Good to meet him in person, so to to speak, and hear him speak about himself for a change!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am not so sure that’s a good idea, Chris! My naughty monkeys might not get along with your naughty apes…But I suppose it’s worth a shot! Of course…that settee needed replacing anyway. 😉 THANK YOU SO MUCH for being a guest on my blog. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment, question, or idea! I'd love to chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.