Welcome Denyse Bridger!!!!

Reader vs. Writer

Hello everyone, and many thanks to Jenny for having me as her guest today. I was really stumped for a topic when a discussion on my newsgroup provided some inspiration. (Ok, so I asked and they pointed me to the discussion… J)

A fellow author had asked for a critique of something she was writing, and she got back two very different responses from the two readers to whom she had sent the work. This obviously led to some mixed responses and some questions, namely when do you listen to the reader, who is after all the audience you are working for, and when do you trust your instinct as the creator of the work, when the two come into conflict? Do you, as readers, ever stay with a book if you feel it’s flawed or not written in a way that you generally find enjoyable, or are you willing to stay with it to the end to see if there’s a change in the author’s style or your response to it?

What makes a book good, in your opinion? Story, of course, but are there certain styles that you enjoy more than others? I’d like to know what appeals to the audience as a whole, so please tell me if you were to have the chance to shape the book, what would you recommend?

All creative or artistic work is subjective, and no two people will ever really see it the same way, despite reading the same words. So, as an author, I tend to write what I enjoy. If it “feels” right, then I trust that it is right. However, I now wear another job title, that of Acquisitions Manager for a new publishing imprint, so I also need to know how to pick the books that will appeal most to readers. Now’s your chance to tell me what you really do prefer, and help me do my job better in that regard. What do you think??? You willing to step up and tell me your thoughts? We’ll have a random drawing of names from the comments, and reward your efforts with a surprise gift!

Shameless promo time now, you’ve been warned! J

Absolute XPress is the company I work with/for now. We are running some very cool promotions to launch our press and get to know you all better. If you register at our website, you will automatically receive a 5% off discount coupon for an purchase you make. We have a FREE newsletter you can sign up for, so you are in the know about all titles we offer and what our authors are getting up to! Also, the company blog is up and running, as well as our CONTEST blog – we’ll be running a new one every month, and often with a theme. The current contest is “New Year, New Publisher” and runs through January 31st, so drop over and enter to win this month’s prize!!

Also, don’t miss my fabulous feature in the debut issue of Sable Grey Magazine, coming February 3rd. The magazine will be offered as a free PDF download, and it will feature an interview, a short story, (see the banner), and lots of other great stuff! Well worth checking out, Sable’s site is amazing.

Looking forward to hearing from you!! Thanks again, Jenny, for the opportunity to chat with your readers and fans. I’ll pop back throughout the day.


Denysé Bridger
Website: http://www.denysebridger.com
Blog: http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Amore Senza Confini: http://amoresenzaconfini.blogspot.com

Acquisitions Manager/Editor-in-Chief
Absolute XPress, Romance Division
E-mail: romance@absolute-x-press.com
Website: http://absolute-x-press.com
Blog: http://absolute-x-press.blogspot.com
Contest Blog: http://axpcontest.blogspot.com


lainey bancroft said...

Nice blog, Jenny! Very pretty and garden-like.

Wow, Denyse, way to ask the tough questions. I'd have to say for me as a reader it's character all the way. I have become an enormously picky reader since I started writing, but I can forgive an author style issues, provided they've given me characters I care about.

Best of luck with your new adventure. And congrats on the Sable Grey Magazine spot!

kerribookwriter said...

Oooh Denyse!

Love it! Absolutely love..."how far he was willing to go to give it to her..." grrr!!

Just wanted to pop over and show my support from your pals at SRN!


Anonymous said...

Hey there. Just checking in with you. As we have discussed before for me writing is very personal. The characters I create are for me... at the same time as a writer I have to be aware that not everything I like is what others like... and as a picky reader myself I know that readers can be very particular.

Can't wait for the Sable Grey and I'm with you on the plug for Absolute XPress, everyone should come by and check us out.

Lisa J said...

What makes a good story?
If the writing style doesn't 'grab' me in the first page or so I can really struggle to get into it. Character development is a biggie for me too - I need to believe that they are not as two dimensional as the page they're on, if you get me.
I tend to follow my gut on these things, and if the story, characters and style are *nearly* there for me, I'll stick with it. Sometimes, albeit rarely, I just can't get into it, and I tend to leave these books for a while and come back to them at a later date.
Looking forward to the debut in Sable Grey as well!

Lisa xx

Debra St. John said...

Hi Denyse! You do pose a tough question, since writing/reading preferences are so subjective. I like a story with characters that I'll think about long after I finish the last page. Both characters need to grow and learn as the book progresses. I can't stand a book when the hero is the one doing all of the "sacrificing" at the end. And I like a little spice. I don't want everything hidden behind closed doors!

Denysé Bridger said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Some intriguing possibilities for answers with these questions, of course. I appreciate each thought that's been put forward. Will check in again later!!!

Hugs to all....

Anonymous said...

Denyse, first of all, congrats on your position! May you find many wonderful stories out there and bring them to us!

As a reader, if I know the author's previous work and like it, I'll go with a few books that I might feel are flawed. I think that no one should be boxed too tightly, and writers should be encouraged to try new things. Not all of them are going to work. If I'm a genuine fan of the author's work, then it's part of holding up my end of the relationship to go with them on the journey, even if I don't think something worked. Not everything we write is going to work, and everyone needs room for that sometimes. We often learn more from what doesn't work as from what does.

There are authors who've lost me, but I'll usually give them three of four books' worth of time for that!

As a writer, I'm very careful in choosing my crit partners, as I am careful when I critique. It's important that they have the best interest of the book in mind, not the desire to rewrite it in their own voice. I've often seen, in classes I teach and writers' groups I visit and work with, that some writers want everything written a certain way, and they're quick to jump on someone else's style even when it works. Especially if it works.

If I get the same flaws mentioned by all of my Trusted Readers, I go back and take a look at the piece again. It's vitally important, in revisions, to approach the work as though it was written by someone else.

What do I want in books? Strong characters who break stereotypes, characters with complex and sometimes messy (which doesn't mean neurotic) lives. I'm really sick of books that demand that the hero and heroine are so wrapped up in each other that no one else exists -- and I see far too many guidelines that demand this behavior. People have multiple people in their lives, and often have complicated relationships with them. I want to see that depicted with heart and soul and creativity.

There are entire imprints whose books I won't purchase because I've read the guidelines and, to me, what they're looking for is unrealistic in terms of character development and prevents the writer from exploring story and character to its full potential.

Oh, Jenny -- nice blog, and thanks for inviting Denyse!

Anonymous said...

Hi from elliott who likes to play alone in a sandbox. I used to be a poet so I like to create sweeping metaphors for images; sort of the way a camera does close-ups in movies. It drives editors nuts which is why I self-publish but one day people will understand what I was attempting to do. I'll probably be long dead by then but that's my goal. (sweeping metaphors, not being dead)

Unknown said...

Hi, Jenny-

I had a good laugh discovering your character Noah Kennedy, as I am the 3rd Noah Kennedy in a line of 4 (yes, my older son is Noah Kennedy also).

My grandfather Noah was a lawman in Texas- deputy sheriff in central and south Texas. My father Noah was a judge. (I am in the software business in CA and my son is a junior in college.) You didn't happen to know of them when you created your character, did you?

Warmest regards,

Noah Kennedy
Larkspur CA