Monday, June 11, 2007

Hit or Miss?

Apparently some readers consider my work "hit or miss." That is, they like some of my books, but others...not so much.

I understand that this could make a reader wary to buy one of my books. After all, they aren't sure if it'll be a "hit" (something they'll like), or a "miss" (something they won't).

Why is that? After all, it's the same imagination behind every book and my writing voice is, I think, fairly consistent. Variables no doubt creep in, as I'm not exactly the same person I was yesterday as I am today. Nobody is. Life happens and influences our thoughts and feelings and such things are going to influence my writing.

However, I don't use vastly different language for my medievals than I do for, say, my Victorians. That's quite deliberate, as I find "medievally" language ('twas, 'twere, etc) distracting. I know some people love it, that it helps set the stage and enhances the story. For me, however, it gets in the way of the characters and story; it doesn't enhance, it distracts, so I choose not to use it.

That said, I do like to use different settings. I most often write medievals, but I've also written Dark Ages, Restoration, Regency and Victorian.

The characters are, I hope, different with each book in more than name. I enjoy writing about people with different personal histories, different likes and dislikes, different issues.

That means that the relationships between the hero and heroine are going to be different, too, including the amount of sex. For me, the level of sexuality in a story depends on those specific characters and their relationship. A marriage of convenience story, where the characters are married close to the beginning, is, in my hands, going to be a sexier story than if they're not married, because I believe the stakes were too high for women to simply blithely part with their virginity prior to the development of the Pill. They do in my books, but not without a conscious decision and an awareness that it's a Very Big Deal, which means it (probably) won't happen near the beginning of the story.

Will I ever try to be more, well, consistent?


And here's why:

I have to keep the writing interesting to me, or it will suffer. This I know from bitter experience.

I have to live with the story and the characters for a lot longer than my readers, so I really have to be interested in them, and for me, that means trying new things. Even if "same old, same old" meant I might get more readers, I don't think I could stand to write the same thing over and over again. I'd be bored out of my mind.

So while it might frustrate some readers that, like Forrest Gump and his chocolates, you might never know exactly what you're gonna get before you open one of my books, I hope other readers enjoy my books for that very same reason.

Because for me, there's just no other way.


Kimber said...

You're an auto buy for me.

Sure, I love your medievals more than your other time periods (your medievals...I don't know...they just sparkle, I can't think of a better word for it) but I know that regardless I'm going to get a good solid story with very solid and believable characters.

I might not like the characters. They're all different and so my reaction to them are all different. But I can understand where they're coming from.

And I never buy based on the level of sexuality. Its all about the characters.

BTW...if you're ever reaching for writing craft post topics, my question that I didn't ask on Saturday (too many other great questions) was on how to edit manuscripts after a time lag. We all grow and change so I'm finding it difficult to seamlessly edit.

trish said...

I don't have that problem, I'm like Kimber, you are an auto buy for me also. :)

Maggie said...

Maggie's also an autobuy. ;)

I don't see how writing the same thing is a seller. I autobuy for the language, the twists, and of course, the characters. But most authors write the same characters over and over, and it's more interesting to read about different characters in each new book. Keep up the diversity!