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Write the story you want to read?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Svrtnsse, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    As per the thread title, write the kind of story you'd want to read is a common advice and it seems really good. It makes sense.

    Then I look at the novel I've written and I'm thinking: This isn't the kind of story I'd see myself picking up in a store.

    I greatly enjoyed writing the story though - getting to know the characters and exploring the setting and seeing how it really turned out in the end. It was good fun.
    This could very well be a self-image issue, and I just need to grow up and realize that my tastes have changed.

    I always pictured myself as enjoying stories with action and adventure - not ponderous relationship dramas, but that's kind of what I've written. I imagine the kind of blurb I'd write for the novel, and it doesn't match at all with what I normally look for when picking up a new book (this isn't the same story as I've been posting a blurb for recently btw).

    Despite all this, I'm still happy with the story. I think it's a good one and I think people who read it will enjoy it. Heck, even I enjoy it, but then I'm partial to it because it's my story so of course I would.

    What's your take on this?
    Have you ever written a story and realized that even though you like it, it's not at all anything you'd expect yourself to read?
     
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    No. I've always tried to write what I'd want to read, even when I was still emulating other writers.

    I've written plenty that I didn't like, but that was only due to a lack of execution. The efforts have always been within my interests. Although, those interests change with time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
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  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Yes. I've written short stories that I wouldn't want to read. They were too "heavy" for me.

    I've always been a bit uneasy with the idea of appealing to yourself as a reader. It's a bit like talking to yourself. Usually I talk to other people. So usually I write for other people.
     
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  4. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Well, I think you need to consider what type of writers that advice is aimed at. It seems to me that it's more meant as a confidence booster to get people who want to write to relax and just write. It's a good place to start from, but ultimately stories SHOULD grow and change past their ordinary bounds.
     
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  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I think the point of the advice is that if there is a story you, as a reader, wish was out there then there are probably others hoping for that story as well. Appeal to yourself as a reader and you are likely to appeal to other readers like you. This, as far as it goes, is pretty good advice.
     
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  6. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Brandon Sanderson gives this advice—to new writers needing motivation to keep writing and a confidence boost when they worry over "the market" and what's currently being published. But he's also said he does this himself.

    I think the primary point is that writers will probably have more passion for the things they personally would want to read, and this translates into the writing.
     
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  7. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Personally, nope. But then my range is relatively broad in what I'll read.

    I find that everything I write hits on subjects that I want to read about and has elements that I like seeing in stories.
     
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  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. You wrote a story you didn't think you'd like, and you liked it! YAY!!!

    I've always liked things about my stories, even the ones i've done for challenges, but I have to admit, I've written a few that just wouldn't appeal to me. But as the creator, I wasn't necessarily thinking about my own tastes, but being true to some characters i dreamed up, and telling them the story that fit them. I don't like bittersweet endings, but I've written them, because they were the right choice. I've written some stories that had characters do things that personally, I would have found frustrating, but again, it was right for the character. I've also written some characters I don't personally relate to, but I felt I was being true to them, and they were based off traits I don't necessarily want to embrace, but they are real traits in our world, and so I wrote them. I think if you can be real with yourself about what you're writing, it's a good thing to be somewhat polarizing. Either people will like it, or they'll hate it, but at least you stayed true to the concepts for something that might not be all your hopes and dreams, but may inspire and connect with readers.
     
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  9. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    I write what I would want to read. Its essential for me that I feel joy in the kind of stories I plan and execute and I of course want and tries to read that kind of stuff as well.
     
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  10. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    Enjoying the story you are creating is good enough for me. If I'm excited and look forward to each writing session because I can't wait to add more to the story then I'm doing something right.
     
  11. NerdyCavegirl

    NerdyCavegirl Sage

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    I guess since I only write as a hobby and an exercise in imagination, that's exactly what I'm going for: something I wish to read (or rather, already do in my head), and thus enjoy writing. That said, I love reading almost anything, but my writing tends to gravitate more toward gritty realism, fantastical horror, dark humor, and heaping globs of hot wet sex. BUT not in detail, usually just either vaguely and/or metaphorically described, because I can't find a way to write explicit sex scenes without it sounding too....awkward. I also don't do romance for similar reasons. I do read it, and I do write relationships (kinda hard not to), but what I write isn't nearly as mushy as what I read. I just see very few real examples of stereotypical romance, real relationships are much more complex, and my own experience is as unorthodox as everything else I'm a part of. Whatever the intended genre, everything I write is flavored by my crude humor, morbid tastes, and analytical nature.
     
  12. imagine123

    imagine123 Dreamer

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    The story I'm working on is a story that I want to read, but haven't found yet. So I follow that line of thinking completely.
     
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  13. ushKee

    ushKee Scribe

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    It's more than that for me. I try to write the world that I want to live in. Obviously it's not the same for all writers (such as dystopian novels), but for me this is one of the main attractions when reading a book. Even with the sense of danger and conflict and all, you can still imagine yourself as the character in the story and experience the amazing world around you and the sense of adventure. That's what makes the best fantasy and Sci-Fi novels for me
     
  14. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    For me, I always try to write the kind of story I'd enjoy reading. However, that's because I enjoy writing that kind of story, which I think is more important. If I didn't enjoy writing stories I A. wouldn't do it because it's just a hobby for me, B. Would write a bad story because I'm simply not that interested in finishing it and would want to move on to a story that I enjoy.
     
  15. Velka

    Velka Sage

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    I don't think it's necessarily that simple. I've read books that were "what I want to read" because the premise really appealed to me, but I didn't like them that much in the end because I didn't like how they were told. I've also read things that initially didn't appeal to me terribly much, but in the end loved it because of how it was told (The Sisters Brothers is one that pops to mind).

    I've written a few short stories that are outside my usual genre and comfort levels, and while I would be really unlikely that I would pick it up at the book store, or download it to my Kindle, it was a story that festered in my mind and needed to be written. Inspiration is silly that way. I've never written anything of this sort as novel length - I'm not sure if it's because the idea just wasn't big enough, or my commitment to it wasn't strong enough to take it further.
     
  16. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    So instead of "write the kind story you'd want to read," we should amend it to "write the kind of story you'd want to write."

    I think a lot of this advice is given in a condensed form for the sake of convenience, and we end up taking the condensed version too literally. "Write what you know" is another one. Taking this one literally means I can't write my favorite genre, because I've never been in a sword fight, commanded magical powers or interacted with mythical creatures. So let me make my little contribution to the store of author advice: take all advice with a few grains of salt.
     
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