The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!
August 3 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?
Both, I imagine.
Romance readers search for books with their favorite tropes (eg. enemies to lovers, who did this to you, fake dating). However, these get stale with repetition. With that in mind, here are two methods to help strike a balance between originality and giving the people what they crave:
To keep things fresh, I use tropes I enjoy and present them in an original way. As a reader, I appreciate authors who breathe new life into tried-and-true plot devices.
A book that scratches the enemies-to-lovers itch is You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. An engaged couple, Naomi and Nicholas, have fallen out of love, but whoever calls off the wedding foots the bill. They face every relationship killer known to man: in-laws from hell, nonexistent sex life, issues with jobs...but the biggest obstacle is feeling trapped with each other. Naomi throws everything at her fiancé to drive him away. Through all the immature pranks and hurtful words, something unexpected happens. She drops her walls and takes a good look at Nicholas and at herself. Maybe she's not as ready for it to be over as she thought.
Some parts of the book were a bit silly, which often happens in romance, but it's a five-star read for me because the author went outside the box with a brand new trope: lovers to enemies to friends to lovers.
Look the trope in the eye, acknowledge it, and revel in its full potential. To some, this might come across as cheesy, pretentious, or breaking the fourth wall. I, for one, enjoy it. Not only does this approach earn a giggle, it also lets me know I'm in the capable hands of an author who knows the genre.
A great example is The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. The author has a blast with the fake dating trope, referencing it by name throughout. The FMC knows she's living a rom-com, but that doesn't stop her from acting out classics like "uh-oh, we'll need to share a hotel room." I don't mind predictability in the slightest when it's done well and with a sense of humor.
What do you think? Do you prefer to read/write what's popular, what's original, or some combination of the two?
Nothing fancy, just my thoughts on the writing journey, creativity, and life in general.
Falling for the Villain
Like superheroes? Love romance? This novel is for you!