Monday, March 12, 2018

Reading For Research

I stress this all of the time to new writers interested in writing in the romance genre. They need to read romance. They need to even be more specific by reading romance in the sub-genre he or she is interested in writing. This also applies for any author interested in writing for a particular publisher and even more so if they have a particular editor they have wanted to work with. This is about research. This is about getting to know that voice and style.

Too often, writers begin a novel in a genre but really have not done that research. They write going off of what they "think" they know, and not what the genre demands, or what the market is currently looking at and selling. Guessing at the nuances of the genre is not going to get that book sold.

Now, before I go any further, I know that some of you are thinking that if you do that reading, you are likely going to "copy" those authors, or "lose your own voice." This is far from the truth. I have talked about this in the past, but I will repeat it again. Every genre has unique stylistic elements that need to be included. Regency romances will have specific ways the characters will act and behave. New Adult will have specific themes that show up. Inspirational romances will have certain stylistic approaches with how the "faith elements" are included in the story. Do this wrong, you turn off the reader.

When you are doing this research, make sure that you are not just looking at plot lines. The focus is on the style. Yes, there will be times when the plot elements are key. For example, how soon you get the characters interacting with one another, or when you decide to amp up the romantic element. The real focus is on the voice.

Let's look at this rhetorically and, more specifically, using the concept of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. I am only going to look at the Ethos piece here. Ethos talks about the credibility of the speaker as well as the ways the speaker (or in this case the author) makes a connection with the audience (or reader). If the reader is looking at your story and it sounds like something they are used to acquiring, editing or simply likes to read, they will be more likely to "buy in" to you project. Using a similar voice will do just that. Again, this is not an issue of plot, but voice.

Of course, plot elements can turn off those prospective editors and agents. I will use myself as an example. There are simply plot lines that I do not like to read or really think work. A couple of these include: adultery, the women and road trip piece, and the dating a hot guy in a band. I personally do not like these topics, so when I read a premise, read a synopsis, or even start reading the story, those ideas are already turning me off. This means that the story will have to be 200 or 300 times better just to overcome those initial thoughts I have.

So, how do you know this stuff? It takes reading. It takes a lot of reading. It takes a lot of dissecting those novels just to figure out those trends. If you do this a bit more, you may find greater success when you submit those projects to editors and agents.

No comments:

Post a Comment