On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (open to anyone and full of great resources and information for writers) post their answers to a monthly prompt on their blogs.
Authors benefit from getting an insightful prompt for generating more blog content, and IWSG links all respondents, which is a way for writers to discover each other. Pretty neat!
August 3 question – When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?
I think this is a hard question for me to answer, because I’m not sure I make an intentional effort at either.
I’m not explicitly setting out to be “original” in the sense of creating something new, groundbreaking, innovative, unique for the genre. Neither do I first consider what is marketable or what readers’ preferences might be. I just… write what comes to me. Maybe that’s the intent of the first option?
If by “readers” the question would include “editors” then the answer is most certainly yes, especially so in later drafts. When just setting out to write a story though, the answer is mixed. Sometimes, I am writing to a specific prompt or theme that has been provided; in fact, all of my market-published short stories have been for themed issues or anthologies. Is that “giving readers what they want”?
Perhaps I’m overthinking the question. Zooming out.
I write for the sake of creativity, exploring themes, worlds, and characters that interest me, and to express ideas that I find hard to get across in any other medium. If readers happen to like it and maybe even buy something to help me recover costs, hey that’s great; but I don’t think of my writing life as a business, nor my writing output as a product. In that sense, I choose “original”.