I hang out at bookshops and libraries a lot. New books, used books – it doesn’t matter to me. I’m always looking for something delightful.
In each shop or library I know my favorite shelves; the places where I’m most likely to find the books I’ll enjoy.
Do you do that? Are you pulled inevitably to your favorite genre? I think most people are. We might look elsewhere (bargain bin?) to a certain extent, but we know which genre and what kind of reading gives us most pleasure.
So when bloggers that I follow blog a piece of their fiction I’m hoping that it will be in my genre. Often it is not, and that’s fine. I start to read it anyway. Maybe this will open up a new genre to me.
Fantasy seems to be the genre of choice for many bloggers. It means that the reader is pitched into a different world with creatures who may or may not humanoid. They have a whole new dimension of crises and issues. On top of that have names that are difficult to relate to.
It seems to me that the blogger/writer has given him/herself a really tough assignment here. Unless they are blogging to other fantasy aficionados exclusively they are asking a lot of the average blog reader.
If you’re writing a novel you don’t explain a million background details right off – you build them in gradually later. But if you are showcasing your fantasy fiction extract in a blog, perhaps as a teaser, how are we going to know all the necessary background information?
You may have created a complex civilization in a distant and well-defined galaxy with incredible perils but how are you going to pull your other-genre reader into it in the short space of a blog?
You have set yourself a task that is more intense and trickier than sitting down to write the novel. You have to make it so magical that you pull in your other-genre readers within a few hundred words and keep them reading. Bear in mind that many are out of their comfort zone in this genre.
If I read a novel and come across a character called Pamela or Tiffany or Bubba I pretty well know what kind of person I’m meeting. Like them or not, I connect. If they’re called Brunk or Armith I have no idea. If they hail from Strabling I’m not much wiser. Does this make them friend or enemy?
If I have no connection with them lose interest pretty fast. Perhaps I should try harder. With a little more work maybe I would get it. That’s not the point. To me reading is about pleasure, engagement, increasing my emotional understanding.
It isn’t about working and trying harder, virtuous as those things are.
Blogging fiction showcases your work but it requires extra skill to draw in other-genre readers. They have stopped by to read hoping for delight. Have you welcomed them?