Monday, February 4, 2013

Do Readers Care?

Do readers care if an author they have decided to follow goes off on a tangent? Wondering about this, I recently took a look at some of my own writings. The Dark Lady, my first published novel, would probably be categorized as a European-style medieval fantasy. Queen’s Pawn and Knight’s Bridge would fall into the same broad category, although none of the three take place in the same location, and probably not in the same universe. There is a different slant to each tale, as to how seriously I treat the subject, with Knight’s Bridge, then Dark Lady at one end of the spectrum, and Queen’s Pawn at the other end with more a tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek approach.

Then I leap away from the medieval and into the world of the Housetrap series. If forced to describe those novellas, the best I can come up with is a sort of a semi-modern fantasy world filled with just about anything, with touches of steampunk and science fiction. Oh yes, they are also detective stories, sort of. I see nothing wrong with having a Goblin play the part of a flight attendant on a spaceship. Someone who picked these tales up because they enjoyed the medieval stuff might get thrown for a bumpy curve at the start.

When I rooted around some of my projects in the final polishing stages I came up with two that are leaning more toward science fiction and one more of a historical what-if epic. One of the two sci fi manuscripts has definite fantasy elements to it. Do readers get upset if you mix genres together? I do it just because I can, and because I think the story elements fit together to make a better tale.

Trends come and go and I fear I pay slight attention. Besides, by the time I have plotted out a tale, set it down, convinced the publisher and gone to press, the trend has probably sunk without a trace or left dregs of over usage floating on the literary pond. Because of this, I may feel free to throw vampires into a science fiction short, or turn zombies loose in Hounds of Basalt Ville but only give them bit-part status instead of feature time on the page.

The bottom line, in my world, is I write what I enjoy, and sometimes just to see how the story will turn out. I like surprises. Do the readers really care if an author changes hats, changes or mixes genres, wanders from treating a subject seriously, to poking fun as long as the final product is well-written?

I would be interested in your thoughts!


The Dark Lady - February 2012
Housetrap - December 2012
Knight’s Bridge - March 2013
The Queen’s Pawn - April 2013
Dial M for Mudder - July 2013


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Depends on which tangent. I was disappointed in Diana Gabalden's doubling the size of her work, obsessing about Jamie, and giving so much "decorator" detail, I quit. And it's not that I don't know furniture or kinckknacks aka appointments. I use to be an interior designer.

Big Mike said...

I think the more releases an author puts on their slant, the bolder their muse becomes. The question is, should you listen to her. Or perhaps, can she be ignored. Know with myself, I find each story stretches the boundary more and more. In terms of how readers respond, depends on why you write. Get too real and some might be repulsed, the truth about modern life can be too much too swallow.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)