Thursday, 5 January 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group: The Curse of Unpopularity

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      A while ago , I wrote about not having the natural writing skill that some others are just born, this month I want to address the other thing that I have always lacked: popularity. Or rather my ideas have never been popular. I’ve always been somewhat of an outlier but it’s never really bothered me until recently when I’ve come to the realisation that the way I see things, my plots and characters, just don’t have mainstream appeal. As much as some writers and some readers will pretend that certain popular tropes don’t exist, they do, and they’re not the kind of thing I enjoy reading or writing.
       None of my novels have love triangles, not all of my characters are attractive, often my heroines aren’t “nice,” and I don’t prescribe to competitive female behaviour which is so prevalent in the YA genre. For a long time now I’ve thought of myself as a writer in the way that Michael Bay is a director. I like all the flashy, action stuff without much emotional substance behind it. I don’t care that it makes sense as long as things are blowing up.
       In an attempt to  break out of my comfort zone I tried to write one of these tropey novels. I've written all of two lines in two weeks. Clearly this isn't working out and I am now trying to make peace with the fact that what I write will never be wildly popular but maybe I can find my small niche of readers one day if I JUST KEEP WRITING.


  1. Perhaps you should ask some of your potential audience to read your manuscripts. I mean teenagers, not adults who enjoy YA. Surely you have a local secondary school or two in your area? Kids are honest. And they don't always insist on the tropes. Check out the winners of the last two YABBA Awards for Older Readers - last year it was Soon by Morris Gleitzman, a powerful novel about a Jewish boy in post-War Poland, having survived the war and still having troubles, the year before it was Two Wolves, about kids whose parents drag them off on a dreadful flight from police. Those were ones the *kids* voted on. There were the Inkys too - the shortlist chosen by a panel of teens, the winners voted on by teens. Not a single trope-y novel in the lot, not even the American ones that got the Silver Inky. Look it up on the Insideadog web site.

    I've had a giggle with my lunchtime book club members over those tropes. They knew perfectly well they were overdone in the books they read.

    Just write what you do best. No point trying to do something you're uncomfortable with.

  2. If you force it and it doesn't happen, it's not your style of writing.
    I wouldn't mind reading about stuff blowing up. I certainly don't want to read about a love triangle.
    Happy 2017!

  3. I'm totally in that niche!!! I love your stories. I stopped writing because I felt like this. Like what I wanted to write about, no one wanted to read. Don't be like me. Don't give up. You're a much more talented write that I am and it would be a shame if you didn't keep writing!

  4. I enjoy reading your stuff, and like that it doesn't conform to the tropes. If that makes any sense.

    Miss talking to you.

  5. There are always varying degrees of opinion on this topic. Write for oneself or write for others even Stephen King once said (and I might butcher this a bit) write with the door closed, rewrite with it open. And I always took that to mean write your story but rewrite with others in mind which I always thought meant asking myself if the audience would like the story but now I'm thinking maybe not so much. It's been years since I read "On Writing" so I can't remember what he elaborated and before I go on a further tangent one of the reason I thought to reply was something you said in regards to thinking your ideas aren't popular or will only apply to a small niche. That made me think about the interview with JK Rowling and how she mentioned the same sentiment to Diane Rehm in regards to Harry Potter. All that is to say maybe there are readers waiting for your book.

    Here's the interview btw if you're interested -

  6. I know if I don't write what appeals to me, personally, I would prefer to give up writing altogether. No way I want to do this if I have to write what I don't want, assuming writing the tropes is writing what I don't want. Sometimes they jibe together, actually. But, if everyone wanted all YA fiction to be erotica, I would kindly give up writing for that age group (or, not so kindly).

    I have enough trouble finishing anything I start that I am interested in, so there's no way I will finish something I just can't get into. I think it's wise to recognize this because it's a fact of life for creatives. We love being creative, but when it becomes not fun, we just start hating it. That's the worst thing that could happen. I never want to hate what I love to do, so if that means not making a living at it, so be it.

    I don't think all hope is lost in that regard for you or for me, but I would rather love what I write and find another way to make a living if it were impossible to do both. (I just don't think it IS impossible!)


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