My companion blogger, Melissa Ohnoutka, started a new interview series today called, What Do Readers Really Want? These are interview with Readers who are NOT also Writers. I think this is a great idea, and I’m eager to see the ongoing results.
I’m tentatively expecting the answer to be: Readers want different things. That’s certainly been my experience with my first-round readers.
- Kate wants a happy ending. When she reads a book besides mine, she reads the last few pages and if the ending’s not happy, she chooses another book.
- Hallie wants depth, character development, texture and richness (none of which Kate cares a bit about).
- Tops on Larry’s list is the story.
- I don’t know if this is what Aliceann ALWAYS wants, but in my books what she loves most is the humor.
But maybe there are universal wants.
Here’s another curious piece of this puzzle. Over the years, I’ve met a lot of writers who attempt to write what readers want. They stay on top of the hot trends, and write what’s selling today. There’s a fortune to be made in Young Adult–they’re gonna try their hand at writing YA.
Not a thing wrong with that, and it’s probably the best way to succeed as a professional writer in a fickle and fast-moving industry. But I’m incapable of doing it. I write what I write because it pleases me, and if it doesn’t please me then it’s not fun, it’s work which becomes mind-numbing work and ultimately, it doesn’t get written. I’m VERY disciplined as a writer, but the secret is, I’m capable of being disciplined because I love it.
So if Melissa’s interviews come back and tell us that what readers want is good old-fashioned love stories with tight plots and mysterious twists and turns that takes place in a world that obeys the rules of physics, I’m shit out of luck. Guess I’d just keep writing for my village and be satisfied with that.