Friday, July 24, 2009

Expectations

I'm Baaaccck! I'm sure you've all missed my Friday interludes terribly ~_^

Fridays seem to keep whizzing by me but I've been meaning to blog on this since I've been doing the mad rush to finish and submit the follow-up to Beautiful C*cksucker (which, btw, made it to the #2 slot in BDSM at ARe a week or so ago ).

This new story (which I've dubbed "Copsucker" because it amuses me) is pretty darn good. I love the character interaction and think there's some pretty hot sexual tension going on, but I've been wondering if readers expecting this to pick up right where BCS 1 left off will be disappointed.

On some level they may and yet, the story is what the story needs to be.

So let me ask this:

Readers: How much if any leeway do you give authors in fulfilling your expectations? Do you want your fiction to be bigger/better than real life or do you enjoy finding out how favorite characters react to the curves real life tends to throw in our paths?

Authors: Do you show the story the characters present to you if it "clicks" for you or do you try to mold events more into what you think the audience expects?

18 comments:

JenB said...

I just want a good story.

Sometimes that means a fluffy, predictable plot with a reliable ending; sometimes I prefer grit and harsh realism.

I need good writing, good characters, and a believable story. As long as it's done well (engaging, believable, no plot device for its own sake, etc.), I can take pretty much anything an author throws at me.

EXCEPT a negative ending. If an author's gonna kill off a character or make something awful happen, s/he needs to do it early in the story and then make things better. I'm not asking for rainbows and fuzzy bunnies; just not despair and destruction.

No pressure, right? ;)

MB (Leah) said...

How much if any leeway do you give authors in fulfilling your expectations?

If I know the author and like what he/she writes, I give a lot of leeway and will not get pissed of I read something that's not up the usual of what I've come to expect.

On a personal level, I really enjoy stories in which characters have an intriguing psychology and have to deal with every day real life issues.

If I want larger than life, I will read fantasy.

Barbara Sheridan said...

@JenB

Does somewhere between fuzzy bunnies and despair & destruction count? ^_^

But, yeah. I agree completely. Certain story events may not always please me (it's been 20 years and I still take issue with John Jakes & what he did to Constance Hazard)I'll followed loved characters down any path.

Bryl R. Tyne said...

Hey Barb!

As an author, I love to throw in the unexpected twists, but give my readers at least a HFN ending (not fond of angry fan mail).

As a reader, I hate if the author leaves a hole in my gut that wishes the story would've taken a different turn. "Reality" sucks bad enough without having to read about it also. I think most readers of fiction read to satisfy their fantasies.

Barbara Sheridan said...

@MB (Leah)On a personal level, I really enjoy stories in which characters have an intriguing psychology and have to deal with every day real life issues.

Yes! I love reading how characters cope with the stuff that springs up out of nowhere. This kind of thing also ties in to a blog by LI editor Georgia Woods on "core stories".
http://tinyurl.com/nhmdce

It took me a long time to sit down and analyze everything I've done but certain themes and issues pop up again and again. For me it's "Second chances" and taking a different path if a similar situation crops up (when the first path didn't turn out so well).

Barbara Sheridan said...

@Bryl

As a reader, I hate if the author leaves a hole in my gut that wishes the story would've taken a different turn. "Reality" sucks bad enough without having to read about it also.

But would you rather an author give you the plot you (and perhaps others) would prefer or write the story that stays true to the fictional world and characters as they see it?

Bryl R. Tyne said...

But would you rather an author give you the plot you (and perhaps others) would prefer or write the story that stays true to the fictional world and characters as they see it?

The plot I prefer, of course, to leave me feeling all smushy. But, I read the other books too, and appreciate them to a point, but am less likely to buy future books from the author for fear I will be disappointed with the plot again.

Barbara Sheridan said...

@Bryl

Such a tough audience you are. :P

Bryl R. Tyne said...

I am. But I love ya anyway =D

JenB said...

Barb - Something in between the two extremes is fine with me. I don't even mind an uncertain ending as long as it leans toward the hopeful side. I much prefer a HFN rather than a phony, forced, and therefore unbelievable HEA.

I don't like being mindf*cked or manipulated though, so just don't pull any psychological tricks on me and we'll be fine. LOL

Barbara Sheridan said...

@ Bryl

Back at ya babe!

@JenB
I don't like being mindf*cked or manipulated though, so just don't pull any psychological tricks on me and we'll be fine

I think we're good on that score. :)

J Hali said...

I'm a pig for HEA, but I'm learning to accept HFN (I wrote one - and always said I wouldn't!!) as long as the characters stay true to what I first read. I need to feel good at the end or it's unlikely I'll continue with the next book. I got 'real' life in my life. I want to escape.

Lisa Lane said...

I am one of those authors who is guilty, on occasion, of the evil mind screw. My muses can be very twisted sometimes. The Darkness and the Night: Blood and Coffee, with its barely HFN ending is a great example.

However, (as you'll note in The Darkness and the Night II: Cosmic O and The Darkness and the Night III: Twins of Darkness, I never leave my readers hanging to long--and that gritty realism I mesh with my sci-fi and horror (as well with as my erotica and romance) creates a beautiful contrast for the final HOA ending of the trilogy.

Life has hurdles, sometimes ones that feel too huge to clear. I like my writing to reflect that. I think an HOA is much more satisfying if the protagonists have earned it. ;-)

EM Lynley said...

I'll echo the comments that this is a great topic!

As a writer, I go with the story that the characters end up with, given the situations I throw at them. I try not to second guess myself at the writing stage or I find it freezes me up completely.

Then, I shoot it off to betas, including both readers and other writers to see how they feel about the storyline. I've tweaked a few things after feedback from betas, but not major storylines, and I think the other input is invaluable in deciding what might go too far in terms of story or characterization.

But I never start off saying: "people will really like this if I do ..." at least not consciously.

Dawn said...

As a reader, an author can do just about anything but blindside me. Don't go on for chapters, make me fall in love with a hero and then out of the blue, kill them. Sorry, your book is gonna get flung against a wall. If you're going to kill them, make damn sure you let the reader know and please give us a good reason why, not just to make your villian villianous. In keeping with the same subject, secrets are for intelligence operatives not readers. Don't jump out and yell surprise at the end. Give us a little foreshawdowing or the big surprise at the end looks like a cheap trick. As long as that surprise fits the storyline, I'm good with it. Even if you kill off the hero.

As an author. I love to give a reader more than they expect. I'm a firm believer that regardless how many times a subject has been done, a great writer can find a way to make it unique. I love it when someone says, "Where do you come up with this stuff?"
I also believe that an author shouldn't censor their writing. I'm not saying write things for shock value, but write honestly. If the story calls for a death, then kill the sucker off, don't threaten. Commit. It is the things that get the reader in the gut, the things that invoke a reaction that have powerful emotions attached and powerful messages.

I also don't feel an author should write for everybody. I write for my readers. I know it's impossible to please everyone and just as much as there is a diverse group of authors, there is just as diverse a group of readers. We have indivual tastes. It's what gives us our style and makes us interesting.

Zoe Nichols said...

I once tried to write to an audience's expectation. The story did fine and I hit some kinks and made some folks happy.

I didn't like it so much. I've long since learned to write the way I want to write. In a way, I do it for myself as much as I do it for readers. Yes, I want them to enjoy the story but I will write the story as it comes to me or it is not my story anymore.

As a reader, I'm all for unexpected twists and turns. I'm even okay with death...if it is explained. In other words, I leave as much leeway as possible to see how the story will go. But that leeway can become the rope to hang an author if the story doesn't end on the most believable or at least understandable note.

Barbara Sheridan said...

Thank you all so much for taking part in the discussion.

Sarah said...

Just want a good story like Jen. With some believable stuff, but that's not always necessary. Having to suspend my disbelief occasionally is not a problem.:) I like good build up to sex, loads of tension is a fav for me and sex that's written with heart and certainly not boring sex!

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