I must be weird. I hear advice given by bestselling writers and I think, “Oh, I don’t agree with that at all.”
Which is probably why I’m not a bestselling author, right?
But, check me on this, if you will. The advice given was, “only introduce one impossibility at a time in each book.”
Now, let me give some context.
The author is David Farland, who is a bestselling fantasy author with more than fifty books to his credit. At the recent Realm Makers conference, he gave a class on editing in which he handed this advice to the audience. He was discussing how to make a book appeal to a wide audience.
Examples he used seem to contradict themselves, if I’m to believe the person who attended and sent the tips passed along out via Twitter. (Here’s the article I read this morning, if you’re interested.) For instance, he said Harry Potter had characters someone of any age would relate to – kids, adults, etc.
(Since the Harry Potter series is about a wizard school where monsters are battled, isn’t that more than one impossibility being introduced? Hm.)
All the nice people who read my last story said it was good, and I introduced more than one impossibility in that one. I probably will in subsequent books, too. I guess the question is whether that will narrow the audience dramatically over the appeal it might have if I didn’t do that.
I know a friend of mine had some pretty negative responses come his way when he introduced two impossibilities in his debut book. I initially thought the negativity came as a response to when he introduced the second, not because he had introduced a second, but then, I’m hardly David Farland. I have exactly four full novels under my belt now, two of which will never see the light of day, ever.
So far be it from me to criticize or disagree with someone making his bank from writing. He’s telling people how to do it right, and I just don’t know if I agree. Then again, I think my initial disagreement with his statement came because I sort of ignored the part about appealing to a wide audience.
My book probably appeals to a specific crowd, but not a wide one. I’d think I’d need a different premise altogether for that, but then there’s Harry Potter again, and the idea of appeal sort of leaves me scratching my head.
What makes a book appealing to you? Would having more than one impossibility in the same story make it less appealing to you? Do you read for impossibilities, or for more reality-based entertainment?
Sound off. I’d love to know what you think. 🙂
Happy weekend! Hell week begins for me on Monday.