Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday Thoughts. I hope you all had a great slide into 2017. Ours started with a hilarious phone call from one of our grown up sons. Let’s just say he was a little worse for wear, and we were all in hysterics listening to him. We may or may not have recorded that conversation to play it back at his upcoming wedding in the summer.
With all the upheavals in the publishing industry 2016 brought, all of which we Quillers have blogged about on here, I’m a tad glad to see the end of it.
I started 2017 like I mean to go on. Writing to the best of my ability, and whatever my muse dictates. She seems to be on a shifter streak at the moment, so expect lots of paranormal stories from me this year, until she changes her mind again.
Which brings me nicely to that little thing called reader expectation.
As writers, we all strive to meet our reader expectations. That beloved series they want more of…. you write more. That trope they seem to like so much… the same. Read a reader thread where they voice their opinion on what drives them mad when authors do xyz… well, naturally you try not to do that in your next book, right?
Well, actually…. yes and no.
Of course, if you consistently hear that your books are unrealistic, or full of plot holes, or cliffhangers, which most readers, including myself here, hate with a vengeance to name but a few common reader complaints, then you’d do well to try to avoid those.
A good editor should have caught most of those and certainly if you go through a publisher, these should have been caught in the acquisitions process, and most likely would have resulted in a rejection, or revise and resubmit.
Let’s play devil’s advocate here and say they weren’t. Say, you’re an Indie author, and thus completely free to write what you want, then what…
Well, it comes back to reader expectations. There are plenty of readers who will overlook poor grammar, etc for a good story. Many that will not, however, and certainly, if you hit their triggers, they might never read you again.
I’ve covered the importance of research on this blog before, especially if you write BDSM. This goes for any subject matter, however, unless you write complete fantasy in a world set entirely to new rules.
Though, in that case, please make sure you are consistently following those rules that you set. Otherwise, it gets confusing and you will lose readers. I would go as far as to say that a grain of truth even in a complete make-believe world adds that certain little something.
I know when I write paranormal or scifi, I always ask myself this question.
“Could this actually happen, if such beings existed.”
I like to imagine that the stories could become real. A dose of realism added to any story makes or breaks it in my opinion, at least.
So, what has all this got to do with reader expectation? Well, just this. If you take everything to heart that readers say, you will tie yourself in knots and never write anything. Like I said above do listen to the things, especially about your writing, which come up consistently.
If your readers like a series it makes sense to give them more, if you can. Forcing another story out of a series, which is finished in your mind….. that’s not going to work, folks. Well, maybe some writers can write to order like that, but I am certainly not one of them.
I’ve said it many times, I’m a slave to my unpredictable muse. It is infuriating and exhilarating in equal measures. I would dearly love to be able to stick to one series while I’m writing, for instance. Especially, when I know readers are waiting for the next instalment, but in five years of being published that has only happened to me once.
Most of the time, the ideas are there, but my muse’s attention flits from series to series to stand alone in no particular order. If I don’t listen to her, no writing happens, because she takes off in a huff.
So, I know, for me, at least, I do try to meet reader expectations, but with the best will in the world, sometimes that is just not possible. And if I have learnt one thing over the last five years, it is this.
You cannot please everyone.
It is simply impossible and even die-hard fans of your writing will love one book more than the other, and there might even be the one or two that do not resonate with them at all, and you know what?
It means your writing does not fall into the same old, same old mode, and that is a good thing. It might lose you sales, it might not. What it will do, however, is ensure that your stories stay fresh, exciting, and that will, hopefully, garner you readers who will come back time and time again to read your stories. They won’t mind… too much… if they have to wait for the next instalment to that series they love so much because they know that, eventually, you will get there. And that next instalment will have been worth waiting for.
At least that’s my take on it, and it is the only way that I can write.
That’s all from me today.
Do stay naughty, folks.