August 3 question - 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?
Oooh! This is an interesting question. I really don't know how to answer it, to be honest. I guess I always hope I'm being original. I mean, unless you're writing fan-fiction, aren't we all trying to be original?
But I don't think the two things are actually mutually exclusive. You can be wholly original and still give readers what they want. Readers want a compelling story, complex, relatable characters and strong writing without spelling and grammar errors. And that's what I try to give them.
Some genres have accepted tropes, particularly things like romance and if you deviate too far from these tropes, readers may not enjoy the story as much, regardless of how original you make the story. I fell into this trap myself - The Sidewalks Regrets is technically a romance story, but romance readers didn't respond to it the way I'd hoped because while I feel the ending is a happy one, the couple don't live happily ever after or even happy for now.
Sorry if that's a spoiler for those who haven't read it... Luckily other readers did respond to it, but I don't tend to refer to it as a romance anymore. And the next time I write a romance, I will make sure it does have a happy-ever-after, even if the rest of the story doesn't follow all the romance tropes.
I tend to write stories I want to read and I want to read stories about things that I haven't seen in books before. So in that sense I guess I try to be original. At least as much as anything can be original. Aren't there only six stories in the world? And we all just keep retelling them in our own ways?
Do you try to be original? Or do you write to readers' expectations?