Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Risking A Point of View

A good story is at the heart of drawing in readers, but the way that story is told can go a long way.  As writers, we need to find a way to communicate our stories in ways that are enjoyable to the public.  However, I wonder if we aren't sometimes too smart or creative for our own good.

A few of my novels are relayed in a different way than the rest.  Schism is done in a format that uses news stories and blogs throughout the book to tell the story in a way that hopefully appeals to its target demographic since most political junkies get their news from those sources.  Homecoming is told in the format of a journal where most of the action has already happened, and we're learning about it afterwards.

These methods have their appeal, and when done sparingly, they give a jolt to the public, further enticing them to try something different.  However, these storytelling techniques only work when they're a rare swerve from the norm and not the norm itself.  I think we risk pissing off or annoying our readers if we try to do something overly creative or hoity-toity with every foray, or even with most of them.  Sure, such things may make waves among those "in the know," but most of the public - you know...the folks that plop down money to buy our work and keep food on our table - finds this grating.  Remember, people have little patience or tolerance for arrogance, and doing something different too often comes off as if we're trying to prove we're smarter than everyone else.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't occasionally experiment with your storytelling, but rather to say that you need to find the right time and number of times to try it.  Look for the right story that requires that little extra oomph to get it to the next level.  Remember, readers also value the familiar, so usual storytelling techniques have great value.  And make sure that when you do something different, it's for both you and the reader, not just for you.  Otherwise your stuff will get passed around that authors' circle with approving nods...and no interest from the public.

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