Writing Stuff

Dear Authors, What Do Readers Want?

Here’s another gal that has been helpful, lately. I really enjoy her videos. She’s approaching stories more from a reader’s perspective and I really think that a lot of what she talks about is super helpful to aspiring writers. It’s certainly helpful to me.

One of the most interesting comments from this video is the general agreement that not every interaction has to end in a romantic relationship, that a lot of readers just want the relationship to be platonic, to showcase more friendships. Actually, I would be down with that as I think that’s closer to real life. Though to be honest, can men and women JUST be friends? I know that’s an age-old question but truly, is it possible? Can a straight female and a straight male only be friends? Isn’t there always sexual tension? Actually, this reminds of a book I read recently that I gave five stars to: The Guy on the Right that started as friends and they ended up learning to love each other as the story went along. I LOVED that approach and I truly ended up caring about the characters largely because of this approach. (I highly recommend that book, by the way). This is a reader suggestion I can definitely support.

The comments about strong female characters also struck a chord. Just because a female is little and physically weak doesn’t make her a weak character as a whole. I tend to write about strong, sassy Amazon females who don’t take shit from anyone. (Gee, I wonder where I get my inspiration from). I also LOSE PATIENCE with female characters that consistently make stupid choices and yet “they are a strong female.” I guess you can have a strong female who is an idiot but that contradicts the strength of the character for me and I don’t care about her anymore. I want a physically and mentally strong female character who makes bad decisions and learns from them. And what is up with these “strong” females who act like total dweebs when they’re around their love interest? Gads …

I disagree with the comment about leaving clues for readers to figure out the plot twists. I mean …. okay … there should be some clues that point a certain direction but nothing turns me off more than knowing a 1/3 of the way through the book “who dun it.” I like Red Herrings, but don’t make them over the top cheesy, stupid or unrealistic. I want to be surprised, give me a twist ending.

I actually love enemies-to-lovers types of stories but I absolutely agree when the “hate” between the characters is not strong enough to warrant their interactions. I find myself often saying to myself, “you hate him for that reason? Geez, get a backbone.” I feel like these types of stories are harder to carry off because the reason they hate each other needs to be realistic enough to warrant the hate but also not so big they can’t get past it and develop feelings for each other. Challenging.

Anyway, Merphy has a lot of interesting points and I certainly learned a lot by watching her video. (Also, how CUTE IS SHE?? And I LOVE her hair!)