Friday, September 27, 2013

What do readers want?

I read a tweet the other day by the ever-wise, Emily Rodmell about what readers want.

This really got me thinking. I mean, I'm a reader...and yes, I do want that too! But, then I felt discouraged (as a writer) thinking, "But what if I don't want the first two characters to be the hero and heroine?" I guess that was the rebellious side of me speaking out.

From a reader-perspective, I'd say that I totally agree. I want to know soon into the book who is who because I start to form opinions about the characters right off the bat. If it appears to be the hero and heroine, I immediately start to wonder, "How will they end up together?" or "How will X-issue be solved?"

I remember reading one book where, when I was introduced to the hero, I had a mental image of him with grey hair and wrinkles (not that these are bad) so I was thinking, this guy is older. But then, a few chapters later, I realized that he was the hero/main character and was supposed to be young, manly, and athletic (of course). I remember having the hardest time getting the wrong image of him out of my mind. He was forever and older man when I pictured him in my mind. Now, I'm not saying that was purely the writers fault. It is entirely possible I misread a description or added characteristics that were never there. Either way, it really colored the story for me (in a not-so-good way).

From a writer-perspective though, I want to push the envelope. Obviously, Emily Rodmell knows exactly what she's talking about - this post isn't to debate her tweet at all because I agree.

But I want to know if it's possible to stretch the limits of readers?

>>How do YOU, reader, feel when you read a book?
>>If you weren't introduced to the hero until later in the novel, would you be angry, or just intrigued?

In any case, these things would have to be done well. I understand you have to satisfy your reader with a legitimate plot and an understandable (practical?) explanation as to why things work out the way they do.

I want to hear what you (readers and authors alike) have to say on this subject. I'm so interested to hear thoughts and opinions on this. I don't think there's a solid right answer, but it could be fun to discuss!

Please feel free to comment below :)