Quite honestly, I think that each generation of writers has the same job—to tell great stories to their audiences. As readers’ expectations continue to evolve, so should our stories. That said, here are a couple thoughts:
1 – Spend the extra time making your story great. Create a character we want to spend time with, want to cheer for, and want to worry about. Make it clear what the character wants, how far he is willing to go to get it, and what is at stake if he fails. Whether you consider your story character-driven or plot-driven, every story, at it’s core, is struggle-driven. Draw us into that world.
2 – Be concise. I’m finding that people today really do have shorter and shorter attention spans, and with the emergence of ebooks (which seem to sell better when they’re shorter), I’m afraid that we’re going to have to start telling simpler and less complex stories. Or maybe we just need to write leaner, sharper, more gripping stories. In either case, ruminating, meandering prose and long, insignificant descriptions are out; and taut, intense stories are in.