Consider the '60's. If I were to write a book today, I wouldn't include bell-bottom pants and a character with hair down to their waist (male AND female) or tie-dyed headbands... well, you get the picture. I might, but only as a throwback to that time, not as a current look. This last year has seen a multitude of changes, and I, along with many other authors, have had to take a step back and consider how what we're writing is being received. We can hope that we are writing something timeless, that can be read years from now without too much adjustment to what's going on in the world today, but that may not be the case.
In my own writing, I've found myself rethinking motivation and response to my characters. As a romance author, we've evolved from the stories of men rescuing women, to women rescuing themselves and a man appreciating her strength and trying to help where he can. These days, romances are more about how the characters can work together toward a common goal. As I was watching a movie with my husband the other night, one in a series of "research" movies we've been watching (for my latest project), he had some excellent insight for someone who doesn't read fiction. He pointed out that the characters were actually intelligent in this offering, whereas some of the other movies had unrelateable or unlikable characters. As he mentioned, in one of the movies, while the main character showed growth, she was still unlikable at the end of the movie.
With the changes in the world, I'd considered taking a leap into a new (to me) genre. Try something different. Every genre has their "rules" for what a reader will expect. I'm nearly done with my "experiment," and I've learned that I should stick with what I'm best at. I'm not going to say the experiment failed, but I'm much more comfortable in my own niche.
Which brings me to reading outside my niche. I like historical romance, was raised on Gothic romance. When I don't know what to read, that's my first go-to. It isn't my only choice however. I like contemporaries, and mysteries, and thrillers, and horror on occasion, too. At the end of the day, I like a "good story." Doesn't matter what genre. Right now, I'm reading a cozy mystery, and the rules are a little different than your standard mystery, or romantic suspense, or romance in general. That, in itself doesn't bother me, but it doesn't resonate the same way. The "rules" are different, which means I have to adjust my expectations.
What type of book do you pick up when you're looking for a book to read? Do you have a "go-to?" or do you like to mix it up? Would love to hear how you make your decision.
|The Epitaph Series|