What do Readers Want?

Over the holiday, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I write. It’s of course my favorite creative outlet, but that doesn’t mean that it comes easily each and every day.
As I have mulled over the outline and plot of my current work in progress I have found I keep returning to one question over and over: what kind of stories do people like to read?
I don’t remember thinking about this when I was writing my two previous books. I just wrote what I felt the characters would do. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t think anyone would ever read those two books or if it was lack of experience as a writer.
As I’ve thought about what will go into writing my third book, I’ve meditated on what I like to find in stories as a reader. I realize I want three things.
First and most important, I want characters that leap off the page at me. Second, I like the hero/heroine to experience and resolve real-life issues. And third, I want a happily ever after, or at least a “happy for now” ending. I’m a long way away from the ending of my book, but I already know it will end happily.
So, I ask you now, my readers, what do you look for in a good book? Respond either in the comments section below, or feel free to post your response to me on Twitter.

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