Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group - Tradeoffs: No Book is Perfect


IWSG is a safe place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

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My crit partner Cathy Keaton recently made the comment to me that no book is perfect. I've thought about this quite a bit and have come to agree with her statement. I tend to find minor nits even in books that I love. (Albeit I am a picky reader.)

This got me thinking about my own writing. Of course my writing isn't perfect, but I do strive to publish what I consider my best. And sometimes I have to make tradeoffs when I write.

My current WIP -- an epic fantasy -- highlights a father-daughter relationship. Early drafts were fairly light on plot because I really wanted to develop the relationship. Feedback from my beta readers made me realize I need a lot more plot. I'm currently slogging through the manuscript and adding a whole bunch of plot. As I do this, I'm finding the father-daughter relationship, while still present, has definitely been relegated to a sub-plot. I'm okay with this because in the end, I think people who read epic fantasy will appreciate a stronger plot. After all, I'm not writing literary fiction. :)


What are some tradeoffs you've had to take in your own writing? Do any of you feel there is a "perfect" book out there that doesn't suffer from these tradeoffs?

10 comments:

  1. There is no perfect book, but you strive for the best you can. Epic fantasy? That's one of my favorite genres. :)

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  2. There's definitely no perfect book, though some authors are able to do things that blow my mind.

    While striving for perfection is an endless (and perhaps futile) battle, I think it's important to work on our weaknesses but play to our strengths. For instance, I know that dialogue is a strength of mine, so most of my stories are pretty dialogue heavy. Often, this strength will carry the story enough that it allows me to play around in other areas that I know I need to work on, like descriptive narrative, for instance.

    Good luck with your epic fantasy! It's a difficult genre to nail, but so fun to write.

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  3. I totally get where you're coming from when you speak about trade offs. I love action and excitement so my plots always seem really fast. As a result, my characters relationships tend to suffer. It's hard to strike a balance when you're writing what you enjoy reading but others may think needs a bit of fleshing out.

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  4. I am very forgiving of a great story, i.e. if I have fallen in love with the characters I will let a lot of stuff go under the radar. I think we all have our pet peeves, so if I run into any of those, I just usually don't bother reading. I don't like slogs. I just think so much has been written in the history of humanity that unless it's necessary, it just doesn't need to be in the book.

    I think for me as a writer, I don't feel like I am great with metaphors. I read other books by other writers and am just like wowed by their metaphors. I accept that I am not that clever with words, and just do the best I can.

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  5. Hmmm, yes, I definitely think there's books out there that have the perfect balance of plot and character. However, I always find other people disagree with me. I think we all have books that are perfect for us. Fantasy is always plot heavy and as a plot girl I love it!

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  6. No book is perfect and no book will be for everybody. I think some authors forget this especially when the recieve bad reviews. I've even come upon an author who kept changing things based on reviews and IMO that's an awful idea. Interesting post!

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  7. I've found imperfections and typos in every book. We can only aim for excellence.
    I do well with plot and characters, but I'm very light on description. That's what I have to go back in and add.

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  8. As much as I wish there was a perfect book, I haven't found it yet. We just have to do our best, have many eyes look over it, and if it's a good story, readers won't really notice the other stuff anyway. :)

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  9. I don't think a perfect book has been written, just as there are no perfect people. But the tradeoffs take a writer closer.

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  10. Hm. Interesting topic. Like the other commenters before me, I don't believe that there is a perfect novel. You can't please everyone. What I think might be perfect, others might not agree. I personally haven't read THE perfect novel yet, but I've read quite a few that I loved and enjoyed, and that's probably anyone can really hope for.

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