Surprised by Readers

The first Wednesday of each month, the Insecure Writers Support Group hosts a blog hop. The Insecure Writers Support Group accomplishes a blog hop through the use of some internet magic where links to all of our blog posts end up congregated together on a page. Each month the Insecure Writers Support Group generates a question to stimulate bloggers’ thoughts about the insecurities of writing, which we can choose to answer or we may just write about some other aspect of the insecurities of writing. 

Below is a link to others who have participated and are possibly participating this month:
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=103850

If I get this months blog post written today, I’ll be 3 out of 5 so far this year. I missed writing in February and March. 

The writing prompt question this month is:

The May 5th question – Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Here is an answer:

My readers always respond to my writing in a way I don’t expect. If anyone reads anything I write at all, I am surprised. If I were to count the readers of the writing I actually consider my work in progress on my digits I certainly wouldn’t need to take off my socks. I probably wouldn’t even need to use both hands.

It seems readers are only interested in finished products. No matter how well I edit the pieces of my overall work, folks don’t seem to want to invest time in reading only a single scene or a single chapter. They say things like, “Let me know when it gets published.”

I suspect I enjoy writing blog posts more than I enjoy writing my stories for this reason. When I write blog posts they are somewhat a complete unit and I get feedback. I would enjoy writing stories more if I could come up with a way to make the process more like a blog, where I get to have a conversation with some readers.

Last month (April) I mentioned in my blog post for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop about an idea I had to get reader participation and dialog with me into a form of fiction writing. I had to drop the idea when it was pointed out to me how it would open me to responsibility for how others may be affected through participation. Bad things could happen.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

How do you, my fellow insecure writers, get people involved in the process of writing larger works, like novels?

I’m looking forward to the day when I actually have enough writing under my belt to converse with fellow writers. I’d like to learn from fellow writers the way their minds work. Do I think like a writer or am I not cut from the right material?

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

If you read my blog post from last month you probably will recognize I hit one of those points where I found myself asking, “OK, where do I go from here?” Well, over the past month I retreated into music. I dug further into music theory than I ever have before and spent many hours attempting to make some progress on a couple musical instruments.

When I wrote to answer the April question for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop, I spent time leading up to the first Wednesday writing my blog post ahead of time. This month I’m rambling away on the day of. I’m looking forward to reading about how other writers have been surprised by their readers. After I read others’ blogs I might realize I really had similar experiences I’ve just forgot.

I had thought about another topic I might have written about this month if I didn’t attempt to answer the prompt question. I’ll go ahead and write a bit about it. I have been thinking lately about how frustrated I’ve been with some folks who set out to advise wanna-be writers end up contradicting each other or even themselves.

I had read one advisor who recommended only writing dialog with “said.” He advised not using “asked,” or “whispered,” or “yelled,” or anything other than “said.” At the same time it is generally advised not to use adverbs but to use strong, precise verbs. I believe these two pieces of advice contradict each other. “Said” is not a very strong, precise verb. I order to convey the idea something has been said quietly without using an adverb, it seems to me, I should write “whispered” or else maybe “said in a whisper,” but writing “said in a whisper” seems awkward.

I probably can come up with other examples of contradictory advise about how to write. I guess we need to pick a set of rules and then modify them if we discover our readers are turned off by the choices we’ve made.

What do you all think?