Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Who's This Story For, Anyway?

It seems like every time I turn around, someone, somewhere, is asking something like...."But will readers buy that?" or "Will readers get pissed off if I...." (fill in the blank) "will readers hate my characters if they....." (again, pick a vice)

And I always just want to take those writers, shake them and ask them "what the hell is wrong with you?"

Because you know what? They aren't writers. Asking them to answer such questions is like a long shore fisherman asking a dairy farmer where the good fishing holes are. It doesn't make the farmer any less smart because he can't answer that question, but I have to seriously wonder about the fisherman.

Asking another writer is only slightly less impossible. Now the longshoreman is asking an Alaskan Crabber where the Atlantic cod are. He might have an answer, but it probably won't be relevant or accurate enough to matter.

The thing is, the answer to all those questions is at once yes, no and who the hell knows?!?!? Who cares? Watch me piss off all my readers, but...I don't write for them. I write for the story, end of.

Now I also probably pissed off all the writers who've ever asked if making their main character a 'cheater' or an addict who falls off the wagon, or if they can write a romance in which the two main character share less than half a novel's worth of page time. Some days, I'm not very diplomatic. Rest assured, my friends (if I can still call you that!) every one of those questions has flitted through my mind, and I have asked. And you know what my brilliant writer friends say?

Who the hell knows? Who cares? Is that what the character is doing? Then why are you still talking about? Why are you bugging me? Why aren't you just writing that shit down?

And they were right, and I did. In this book.

If there is a vice for Laurie to exploit, he does, and you know what? Not everyone is going to dig that. That's ok. I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for Laurie. His story has been told and his voice has been quieted. That's all that matters.

Blurb: The violent implosion of Lawrence McKenna’s last relationship left him floundering at the bottom of a bottle. Recently unemployed and struggling with his newly discovered submissive tendencies, Laurie needs his best friend, Jeff, more than ever. One sleepless night of detox and a desperate kiss convince him that the attraction they’ve battled all their lives has become too hard to ignore, but Jeff has other responsibilities that take him far away from Laurie and his self-destructive behavior.

When Jeff leaves, all Laurie wants is to be left alone to wallow. Instead, he finds himself riding herd on his friends who have quit their jobs to achieve their dream of starting their own manga publisher. Those same friends return the favor by riding him: about the booze, talking about what happened, seeing a doctor—and about Jeff, whose abandonment left Laurie bitter and resentful. Laurie knows they can’t have a relationship without forgiveness, but when Jeff returns, can he be what Laurie needs?


Anthology Authors said...

Ah, now I get it: you write to quiet the voices, Jaime. (g) I'd do the same if I could. LOL Unfortunately, the voices are rarely in my head, but rather physical when the children have come to visit. LOL


Jaime Samms said...

Oops! I said that out loud, didn't I? Damnit! They tricked me into it! Where's my tinfoil hat?!?!

Anthology Authors said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA Admitting it is the first step towards helping yourself, Jaime... that is if you want help. ;)

Jaime Samms said...

Soo...would that mean they would go away? Wouldn't that be lonely?

Robyn M Speed said...

I know the main character before I start to write (she has usually been invading my mind for ages!), and then I just try to find the story and HANG ON!

It is the story that I want to reveal, and it does not matter what another person might think, I have to share the story of the character.

And every story moves me!

You just ... write ... the ... story! That's it!

Anthology Authors said...

Not that much. I've got plenty around here to keep me insane, er, I mean, sane.

Jaime Samms said...

I know Robyn, right? Seems pretty straight forward, and yet we all seem to have to ask those questions

As long as you have company, Marci!

Jaime Samms said...

I know Robyn, right? Seems pretty straight forward, and yet we all seem to have to ask those questions

As long as you have company, Marci!

Faith said...

I'm not always diplomatic when I write my stories either. I've actually had publishers say, "I'd love to accept this but readers won't like the fact h/she had sex with a dif character than the hero/heroine."

Yeah, but they're not even together yet!

I write about life, and life is NOT perfect.

Kudos to you, Jaime!

SJ Drum said...

Every reader will hate and love something different. If we made all of our characters agreeable people, we'd be writing dull stories about boring people with normal lives...and who the hell wants to read that?

I had a reader who hated that one of my heroes wore Wrangler jeans. There's like a page long rant about it somewhere.

Hey, the hero is who he is and was before I wrote him down on paper. He wears freakin' Wrangler jeans and he looks damn good while doing it. Most of my readers loved him. You just never know.

Write the story the way it demands to be written. No, readers aren't going to love a hero who rapes sheep in his spare time. Use good judgment.

That said, when writing, it's better to ask for forgiveness after than ask for permission before. Just write!

Vastine Bondurant said...

Yes, as one of your writer friends who HAS very recently asked you that, I suppose I'll still consider you a friend. LOL...

Reason I DO ask YOU? Because I know you WILL just kick my butt and tell me 'get out of here and just do it already." So there, dearie.

Sometimes, when we meet objections before we've even started, we DO turn to our friends...ahem, ahem...so they can kick us back on the track from our near derailments.

Faith said...

Having such friends is a blessing, Vastine. I'm very blessed to call you, Jaime, Marci, Val and many others friends. I'm sure Jaime feels the same way, too (and this blog has brought many pals together too!)

Jaime Samms said...

SJ, you are so right on both counts. Everything in a story is going to find lovers and haters in readers. The tragedy would be if nobody cared enough feel anything. That's when you know as a writer, you've got work to do. Also? I never ask permission. Well. Rarely. I probably did mention to someone (Vast) that it might not fly to have Laurie sleep with someone else after he'd decided he wanted Jeff, but you know? He did it, so I had to write it. That's how life is. Who asks permission to live? And being the lover he was, Jeff never needed an apology from Laurie.just a commitment when it was his turn.

And whew!!!! Vastine! I won't pretend I wasn't thinking of you when I wrote that. :D also, I'm happy to kick yer keister any time you need it. I'm helpful that way.

Honest writing will find honest readers, Faith, and hopefully, they will honestly love or just as honestly hate what you wrote. Because hey, at least you got them to think about it and take a stand, and that's a good thing. No one says they have to agree with us! Also, absolutly, I feel the same!!!!! Honored and blessed to call this gang friends!

Dawn Chandler said...

I have had people ask me why do you do this or why did your character do that. I just tell them...I don't know, ask my character. It is their story and who am I to change it. I write for me, so that I can enjoy my characters. Now of course that is not to say that I don't want millions to buy my books and love them, but I don't write for anyone but me.

Jaime Samms said...

Dawn , way back in my teenage years, even though it's eons in the past, I can clearly remember a conversation i had with my mother after she read something I had (voluntarily, which now horrifies me!) let her read. She asked why I was writing it. I told her because I wanted to read it. It was fun, and this way, the characters could do whatever I wanted them to. Naive as I was, I had no idea at the time that the characters would never do anything I told them, but would rather do as they damn well pleased, and I could keep the hell up, thank you very much! But that's where writing started for me. I was writing what I wanted to read. I was writing for me. I think you always have to start from a place where you believe in what you're writing as a reader, and if you do that, other readers will find and appreciate it.