Bouncing occurs when some small detail within your manuscript causes the
reader to pause and consider whether they believe your facts, agree with your narrator’s opinions or otherwise buy into the assertions or events in the text. Rather than being swept along by suspense or the power of your writing, their attention has shifted. They are questioning your construct, heading to Google to find out if you’re right, looking up the definitions of terms they don’t understand, or otherwise trying to evaluate the viability of something in the text.
The problem with bouncing is, of course, that sometimes the reader doesn’t come back to you. And if they did look up your facts and you weren’t quite right, they’ll bounce higher next time.
The things that make us bounce can be entirely valid, well researched points, things that happened in the real world… which makes it even more frustrating. You have to be convincing whether you’re lying or telling the truth. Fail to beguile, and face the consequences!
(Bouncing is also often referred to as being thrown out of the manuscript.)