As a writer, I spend a lot of time contemplating the stories that form in my head. At my worst, during my most creative spells, my mind blocks out everything going on around me. I become consumed, beyond contemplation, in my own world. I get to the point where I’m not telling the stories anymore, rather the stories are telling me what is and isn’t true. I’m not imagining; I’m listening.
So it’s rather a shock when my beta readers tell me I should take out a scene because it makes them uncomfortable. I don’t blame the readers; I appreciate their input and I understand their discomfort. But I’ve lost two betas at the same spot in the second book in my series, “The Great Dagmaru,” in the last week, and that makes me wonder if they’re not right. My guilty conscience for making people uncomfortable is warring with the writer in me who says the scene in question IS part of the story. It’s what happened. So changing it or removing it comes to the same result: compromising the story’s truth.
I have a feeling that if I leave the scene in, it’s either going to make or break my entire series. The readers who realized it needed to be in there enjoyed it (or tolerated it) because it made them feel uncomfortable – it’s what it’s meant to do. Those who hated it may end up hating me. Should I be hoping at this point that it will push enough buttons, whether positive or negative, to make the book go viral? On the other hand, maybe it’s not all that bad, in the hands of the right audience. Speaking of which, note to all the readers who thought The Magician’s Curse should have been categorized as “Young Adult”: the second book will prove to be distinctly “Adult.”
Stay true to your story and publish without fear, says most of me: Write to please people with a story fit for Hollywood, the part of me that wants to bow to the more sensitive readers says.
Lots to contemplate. Opinions are welcome.
This contemplative and rather undecided post is brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word “contemplation,” provided by Cheryl! Thank you so much, Cheryl! You can find Cheryl’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.