Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookie-Cutter Books

I often hear people advise writers to write for themselves, and I certainly see why this would be important. It's about writing what they believe in, what they want to talk about rather than what everyone else is saying they need to write. But I wonder how many people do this faithfully, even when they choose to write against what has proven popular/successful.

The analogy I always use is an mmorpg (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) that I used to play. In the game, many people found that there were certain "specs" (basically spells or abilities players would pick at the sacrifice of others) that were highly effective when, say, fighting against other players.

These were called "cookie-cutter" specs, because they were nearly identical to one another and didn't leave room for creativity--but they were effective because they utilized the most powerful spells/abilities and avoided the weaker ones.

And I think books are a lot like that. There are things, plot devices or formulas, that have been very successful, and a lot of books go the route of using them instead of taking a risk with the road less traveled. And that creates a bit of a dilemma.

Some writers do write for themselves, but there are those that write for their audience. Their goal is to entertain the audience and to make them love the book, maybe even at the risk of writing something that has been overdone to the point of becoming a cliche. But fans love these stories. So does writing something uninspired that appeals to the masses make someone less of a storyteller? Or does it make him a good one because he puts his audience's needs first?


  1. Do you recommend any books on writing?

    1. Tough question - I can't think of any off the top of my head, but there are TONS of blogs and websites out there that contain valuable help. WritersDigest.com for one has great articles.

  2. I admit that society does demand that their desires be filled. So, many writers are solely popular because their books are a certain genre. Like when Stephanie Meyer wrote "Twilight" and suddenly vampires were the "thing". After that, hundreds of newer authors became popular because they started publishing vampire novels.

    However, I do not agree with society. I, myself, am sick and tired of vampire novels. And for an aspiring writer like me who enjoys writing SciFi stories, it's really hard to gain readers (I am currently publishing works on Wattpad). But, I will keep pushing forward and keep writing, because I enjoy writing my story so much that I feel as if I am apart of it. Does that sound weird?

    Anyway, my hate for vampire novels is what lead me to your story "Conduit". I had read stories where it was men vs. women before, but niether of those I read compared to the story you wove. "Conduit" is brilliant, and I hope everyday, that you get published. After all, it was "Conduit" that ultimately inspired me to take my stories seriously and just get lost in my very own world. Thank you Hope Adon!

    1. I definitely agree with what you're saying, about certain authors jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of a need for popular genres. Some would call that not being real to one's author soul, or being a sellout, others would call it being business savvy. It all depends on perspective, I'd say.

      But I think everyone would agree that you should definitely write what you love and enjoy, and if Scifi is your thing, then keep at it! There are tons of Scifi fans out there, and I hope they find your stories. And I completely agree about being a part of your writing. I feel like that too about my stories.

      Thanks so much for your comment, and for enjoying Conduit. And getting lost in your own world is a beautiful way to express the writing process. It's the best feeling ever. :)