Wednesday, 3 August 2022

IWSG August 2022

Another month and time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share doubts and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are Tara TylerLisa Buie CollardLoni Townsend and Lee Lowery.


This month's optional IWSG question is: When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

This question is really interesting to me because it implies that readers do not want originality, or is that just my take on it? In any case, I don't think that's strictly true. I think many readers are tired of the same old tropes that come up in various genres and want to go on a journey of discovery with the reader. At the same time, I'm sure there are readers who return to the same authors time and time again because they know exactly what they're going to get. That might be true for a James Patterson or a Danielle Steel. These are author brands that are highly lucrative. While there's a lot to be said for having an author brand and image, and I'm not saying that's not important, I think the story has to come first before the author. It's why I don't want to have everything mapped out in advance and just follow where the story takes me. I truly believe that each story should be unique with its own demands and rules - its own personality in a way. I'm the type of writer who likes to start out with a concept, a "what if" - something that doesn't feel like it's been done before. The characters who will tell that story tend to come along later. That might be right or wrong, but the readers who buy into a formula and don't want to be surprised - well, maybe they're not my type of readers.

I'm intrigued to read other responses! You can find them here.

Before I go, I have a teeny favour to ask. I still have a few spots open on my Reckoning blog tour from 19th September to 1st October. If you're available for hosting on the 24th September, 28th-30th September, or 1st October, go here to sign up. Thanks hugely!

16 comments:

Liza said...

I often read a book I like and go back and get others by the same author. Often it works for me. Sometimes though, I can tell when an author was on a year contract to get a book done. The stories become formulaic, the writing more rushed and I move on to other authors.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I agree. I think there are readers that only read certain things, but most are ready for the next best good thing in writing. I'm not really a romance reader, but if there is a well written story with something new, I'd read it.

Teresa

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree that readers expect certain things from some authors, like Danielle Steel and James Patterson. I read one James Patterson series and other series where I like following the characters and the way the storyline develops in each book. Sometimes it does get too much of an expected formula, and I stop reading the series.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - yes I can get 'bored' of series, if they're too similar and formulaic. But we have to enjoy what we're writing ... good luck with your new publication - cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If what if before characters works for you, don't change it.

cleemckenzie said...

Well said, Nick! We can't appeal to some readers, and we might not want to.

I'd love to help you out with your book launch. I'm taking a break in September and October except for the First Wednesday posts, but if you'll send me the details, I'd be glad to add your book to either of those posts and put the word out on FB and Twitter for you.

Loni Townsend said...

I had that same response to the question. It's such a weird way to word it. Not knowing where a story is headed is part of what makes it fun!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Yes, Nick, this is how I create story too. Each piece is an original adventure. Genre fiction may follow the constraints of the genre, but each story is unique in its characters and inner and outer conflicts and how the characters come to change throughout the story.

A great and concise post, Nick. Thanks!

Jean Davis said...

I do the "what if" method too. It makes for a more interesting story for me as I'm writing. I figure I'm in excited about where the story is going and what the characters are doing, hopefully the reader will be too. :)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I don't think there are any rights or wrongs when it comes to writing. But there are easier routes to take if your goal is to sell those stories. That's the only difference, I think.

Jennifer Lane said...

Interesting thoughts about interpreting the question, Nick. I agree that readers grow tired of the same old tropes. No way I could stomach another billionaire romance! Sounds like we agree on "what if?" questions inspiring us.

I signed up for your tour--congrats in advance on your release!

Liz A. said...

I think readers do want originality, so that's what writers write? I don't know. I didn't really understand the question. Sounds like you did, though.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You had a really good answer. I guess I'm both kinds of readers. I have my favorite authors who write what I love but I also like trying new to me authors who can surprise and delight me with original stories.

Kate Larkindale said...

I love it when a favourite author writes something different and surprises me. I don't like more of the same. Maybe that's why I never read series...

Melissa said...

Good point. There are a few authors I preorder from because I know I'll get a quality product every time. And, even if the details of the stories are different, there are basic elements I can count on from them - tight writing; likeable, well-developed characters; well-developed romance.

I do like certain tropes, but I appreciate a good twist. Many western historical readers like mail-order bride or marriage of convenience stories, because it throws a couple who are strangers (or have only communicated via mail) into a relationship where intimacy is permitted. That can make for some interesting scenes. Best twist on MOC I've read was H and h who had been friends as children now forced to marry via a family member's will if they wished inherit the farm, etc. Hadn't read one like that before or since.

Damyanti Biswas said...

I agree, that we can't please everyone. We can only choose to let our voice find the right people. However, I find it helpful to edit my drafts to cater to certain readers after I'm done with the first draft I've written for myself.