Tuesday, August 2, 2022

IWSG August

 The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery! 

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?


  1. I agree that writing something original and what a reader wants doesn't have to be mutually exclusive, though you do need to follow the expectations of certain genres. I try to be original too, though I understand there's nothing really that hasn't been written before.

  2. Yes! The mutually exclusive implications got me too. Though, I hadn't gone so far to think about plots when considering originality. I guess one might be unoriginal in an original way.

  3. I try not to think about the audience when writing. I want to write what's best for the story, even if the reader might wish it had gone a different way. I guess I just have to hope that the reader will come around (or whatever) and agree with the choice by the end.

  4. I only ever write what I feel compelled to write. I'm not sure what I've done has ever fallen into either category.

  5. As a reader I do like to be surprised and it's boring to read the same sorts of things again. I guess it depends whether you read to relax and unwind, or to be challenged. Everyone's different but for writing, I do need to try different things to keep myself interested, but like you say there has to be a compelling story. There's a lot of ways to do that.

  6. That's why I started writing - to read stories I couldn't find elsewhere.
    We have to write what excites and intrigues us and then hope that does the same for the reader, giving them what they want in the process.