What Do You Expect from Your Writing?

While doing dishes the other evening, my mind wasn’t on the dishes at all.  It was on what I expected from my novel.  Strange thought process maybe, but I’ve been trying to figure out why on earth I’m stuck in one of my favorite parts of my novel.  I don’t think it’s the actually scene that bugs me at the moment.  I’m still working on the reason, and I think I’ve about figured it out.  But that’s another story for another blog post. 😉

So, what do I expect from my novel?

  • Readability
  • Likeability
  • Sales

Readability:  The most important part about writing is of course to make sure that people read your work whether it’s novels, short stories, poems or memoirs.  But it has to be good.  No grammar errors.  Sentences that flow.  A plot that makes sense and flows as well.  Realistic dialogue.  Characters that are memorable.  No one wants to read a story that hasn’t been edited, and along with editing comes a few different revisions.  It’s almost impossible to send in your first draft unedited and find an agent or publisher.

I haven’t sent out a novel yet, but I have sent in countless short stories I have edited and polished until I thought they were perfect.  Turns out, I was rejected.  Big surprise there.  That was until recently.  After editing my short story “Wishes” for the countless time, I sent it in to a contest by Phyllis Scott Publishing.  Turns out, they liked my story and published it in their May short stories’ book with is now available on Kindle and soon will be out in paperback!   (Can you tell I’m excited? lol)

So, the story has to be readable.

Likeability:  We all want what we write to be liked, even loved.  When we give birth to a new story, chances are we love it.  It’s like our child.  We raised it and brought it up to be the best it can.  But when we step back, what do we see?  Is it really as great as we think it is?

With my first novel, I thought it was awesome.  That the plot was great; there were no flaws.  Boy was I wrong.  After a break from it, it needs a completely new look with the basic plot line still in tact.  My characters aren’t exactly dull, but they aren’t exactly all that memorable either.  I think it’s my characters that bother me most about my novel.  I still have to figure the rest of it out though.

So, is it really likeable?  Take a step back and see?  What’s it going to hurt?  It only helped me in seeing the problems I have with my story.

Sales:  Not only do we want our book to be loved and readable, we want it to sell.  We want that best-seller.  To me, that would be a dream come true!  But in order to get those sales, we have to work hard for it.  We have to make sure our stories are likeable and readable before we can sell it.

Now, these are only a few things that I expect from my writing, but that night I was thinking of them, they were on the forefront of my mind.  What do you expect from your writing?

10 thoughts on “What Do You Expect from Your Writing?

  1. Readability? Yes, definitely. Very important. I’m somewhat like a proofer at work, so typos drive me crazy. My weakness here is concision. One time I was writing about two characters seeing each other, and I wrote a couple of paragraphs detailing their rather complex history and all the unfinished business between them. I took it all out. Regular readers will know that stuff, and new readers won’t care, since that wasn’t why the characters were getting together.

    Likeability? Yes, and even more than that, I want to hook the reader on the characters. I always write about the same (ever-expanding) group of characters, so if someone gets hooked that way (and, unlike you, I do think characters are a strength in my writing), then they’ll want to read more.

    Sales? I don’t think of it as sales (since I’m not aspiring to go pro) I think of it as readers. I like it when people read and react.

    Preferably favorably, of course. 🙂

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    1. I agree with you about the readers. I love when people read and react as well. And yes, favorably! I also like it when I see where people have bought my novella on Amazon though, but I am trying to go pro. It’s taking a long time to get there, but I’m working on it.😉

      I love strong characters,and I don’t think mine were that strong. I see how I can make them better, stronger characters now that I’ve distanced myself from my novel. I can now go back and fix them, and hopefully, people will like them more.

      I appreciate you stopping by! Thanks🙂

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  2. I think this is a really interesting post, partly because it mirrors something that I have to remind myself of all the time – and that Anthony has so wonderfully demonstrated. That is: not everyone wants the same thing out of their writing.

    What do I want? Fame, fortune, and a private jet.

    Just kidding. But I do want a great novel. I want publication, and I want the chance to devote the rest of my life to writing more great novels (and characters) that people will love in the same way that I love the work (and characters) from my favourite authors. I want to be considered an author, rather than a writer. I want to have the word ‘author’ on a business card, my tax return, and possibly my front gate. I’ve wanted all this since I was 4 years old (before I could even read) when I announced it grandly to my parents and presented them with my first “book”.

    But not everyone has the same dream, and I find that I have to remind myself of this when I get frustrated that people don’t take a critique well (I’m only telling you to help you get published!), or tell me they would rather “self-publish” 100 copies of their book to give to their friends and family rather than go through the “drama” of trying to sell it to a publisher, or post whole slabs of their their novel online without understanding how that can contribute to them having difficulties in selling it later. Not everyone has the same dream. Not everyone wants the same thing from their writing. And that’s okay.

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    1. “I get frustrated that people don’t take a critique well (I’m only telling you to help you get published!)…” Further illustrating the point about diversity of purpose, I (despite not aspiring to fame, fortune, or a private jet) do listen to and try to learn from criticism, because I do want to write better (which has its own rewards, apart from possibly increased saleability).

      We’ve been discussing people’s ability/inability to take criticism over here, by the way:
      http://tamarapaulin.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/the-7-stages-of-receiving-critique/

      As for “author,” that always makes me think of the photograph of Fran Lebowitz that’s on the back of one of her books, sitting at her desk with “Author” chiseled into a stone wall behind her (photo taken in front of the Museum of Natural History in NY, BTW).

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  3. You’re so right! It is okay to want different things from your writing. I want everything I mentioned. And too, fame and fortune wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. 😉 Seriously, I want to be called an author as well. Someone who doesn’t just write but is published and well-known. I want it to be my career, not something I do just for fun. Even though it is fun…well, sometimes.

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  4. Thanks for your comment on my blog — I had to stop by and read yours! I’ll keep coming back over the next few days and read back over all your great posts.

    In answer to your question, “What do I expect of my writing?”, I am addicted to the sense of accomplishment. I’m the gal who stops to admire a newly-painted room before finishing the job. I take before-and-after photos of *everything.*

    I get this from my mother, who will photograph her freshly-chopped firewood and email it around to everyone, as proud as any new parent. It’s probably hard-wired in our brains, this need to have stockpiles of accomplishment; it’s key to our survival to have beef jerkey in the cellar and baskets of knitted scarves.

    I want that finished book, on my shelf. I want a hundred copies of it. This is not a rational feeling, but it is helpful as motivation. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate, and I hope you enjoy my blog! I plan on reading more of yours as well!

      I know exactly how you feel! I want a finished book on my shelf as well. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with being addicted to the sense of accomplishment in my opinion!

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  5. Pingback: Monday’s Top 5 | The Happy Logophile

  6. Pingback: Writer vs Author | The Happy Logophile

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