Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something for Everyone

Picture Credit

Mighty Mite (age 7) has been complaining lately about watching "sad" movies.

He doesn't like them.

He's fine with action-packed films and comedy and even the occasional love scene ("as long as there's not too many of them" says Mighty Mite), but he wants nothing to do with the sad parts. He tears up, just like his mom, and complains.

His older brothers, Dark Omen (12) and Worm Burner (10), probably couldn't find the sad parts, even if I explained them. In fact, Mighty Mite was schooling them in the movie subtext as we went through our movie-fest this last weekend.

This drove home for me, once again, how audiences vary and how a wonderful film/book/story can resonate with one person and completely drive another one crazy. And that's independent of the filmmaker/author/storyteller's mastery of the craft.

Each of the stories I write will appeal to someone: either a small devoted group of science fiction fans, or a broader sweep of adults and children alike. My published novel, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit resonates with love story aficiandos from ages 13 to 70+ (those are actual ages of actual readers), but has very few male readers. That's okay - I have other stories for the men, large and small, in my life.

A writer I highly respect (I'm looking at you Bryan Russell) once said that voice was a reflection of the confidence that a writer had in their craft. I think confidence also comes through in the story telling - that faith you have that this story is important and this story is worth telling.

I hope you all can hold onto the faith in your stories and help them to find their audiences.

Mighty Mite already knows what he likes. "I want one where everyone ends up happy."

p.s. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter Pursuits and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit! Giveaway ends Thursday 5/4.


  1. It amazes me when someone loves a book that I just couldn't get into. Sometimes I'll even give that book a second chance! It's helped me realize that with agents too. It really helps to research and see what they like.

  2. @Laura Even the second chance doesn't often do it for me! And yes, it's very important to understand with agents (but also readers!).

  3. That's great that you're writing something that will appeal to more than just a small niche. I would never normally read or watch fantasy, but if it's told in a way which is interesting and unique, then I definitely would. I've seen loads of sci-fi movies that I ordinarily woudln't.

  4. @DU I think some stories can definitely have an appeal beyond their niche, but not necessarily all (which doesn't make them bad stories, btw). I love that you expand your reach into those SF movies! :)

  5. Writing is only part of a book. Storytelling is the other piece.

    There are many gifted writers that know the ins and outs of grammar, syntax, and rhetoric but may not have the right story-telling skills to bring a book to life.

    It's like a musician who can sight-read any piece of sheet music, and can replay a song after listening to it a time or two, but struggles to complete an original composition.

  6. Personally if I con't cry at a movie at least once a week, I don't feel alive.

    But I was much more like Dark Omen at his age.

  7. @Rick I was so that sight-reading musician! (Hopefully) writing is more my medium. I agree that story, really, is the biggest part.

    @Matthew I think it's awesome that you cry at movies!

  8. It's funny how our kids are so different, isn't it? I like that advice on voice too.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. @Angela Kids are an awesome reminder of so many things in life; they're a blessing. #evenwhenIhavetoyellatthem

  10. Great post, Susan! You are so right about varying audiences. Great reminder.

    Mighty Might would enjoy my mg. You two should read it together. Bet the other two would listen. Not admit to it, but listen nonetheless (tee hee)


  11. Is it sad that I cry at all movies, including ones by Pixar? ;)

    My kids get a kick out of it everytime.

  12. @Kai I need to get your book!! :)

    @Stina I think Pixar makes me cry the most. I needed a whole box of tissues for Toy Story 3. :)

  13. Hey! I sound sorta smart when you reference me. This is good.

    And, I must admit, my stories may not be for Mighty Mite. I seem to have trouble with those happy Kumbaya endings...

    And I never cried watching Armageddon. No sirree.

  14. Whoa! When I was absentee from the internet you're blog totally changed! It looks great!!! You know, I have a love/hate relationship with books and movies that make me cry. My son and I have read some of the harder ones to make it through as well and his reation is quite mixed. Right now he's on the Artemis Fowl series and adoring it.

  15. @Bryan Your stories and Mighty Mite are not a good match, true. But I like them! :)

    @Lindsay I have a harder time reading them with the kids than letting them read them on their own and then discussing afterwards. Just embarrassing to have mom break down in sobs in front of the kids. :) And Artemis is Awesome! :)

  16. great post, and you're absolutely right about voice! It's about confidence. As for MM, well, he sounds like my youngest. She gets very angry if we're reading a book and things start to get hairy. Then if we have to stop reading (bedtime), she complains. LOUDLY. :D LOL! It's tough, but I think she's learning to hang w/it...

    great post, DQ~ <3

  17. @LTM That Bryan is a smart guy. :) And I love the love-hate thing your daughter has with her stories! She sounds like my kinda girl (says the mother of three boys). :)

  18. My husband tears up easily--even for commercials. LOL. I really, really, really hope I can find someone who'll appreciate my story. :-)

  19. @Shannon I love a guy who is a softy! So cute. And I'm sure you will find someone to love your story - I already do! :)


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