This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.
This month’s 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?
This question’s answer in my case is a mix of both. I write prehistoric fiction which is a niche genre. That means anything I write tends to be unique, original, and fresh. The disadvantage is that not many read or write it, but the advantage is, those drawn to these storylines find me and hopefully read all of my books (because there isn’t much competition).
That doesn’t mean I can get lazy as a storyteller, though! I must give readers what they expect from any great historical fiction piece or they won’t finish the book. This includes:
- The story includes lots of factual historical events that are fundamental to the plot and characters.
- Characters are based on real people, the plots on real-life events. They just happen to have occurred in a time before history was recorded in anything other than rocks and bones.
- My stories like all good stories rely on a series of problems that are solved only to beget more serious problems–rising action, turning points, reactions, and a final climax.
- The story revolves around a main character who experiences significant change over the course of the novel.
- S/he has an interesting (hopefully) cast of supporting characters to keep readers intrigued.
- Setting is treated almost like a character which is why the series is called Man vs. Nature. Back in prehistoric times, early man’s actions were determined as much by Nature as personal goals.
Let me know in the comments what you think.
I’m eager to read what you-all have to say about your writing.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Fall 2022.