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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? IWSG Post

 

In fiction that is.

In romance I already know the answer: 

what I don't have.

Women account for 80 per cent of fiction sales. More women than men are members of libraries and book clubs. 

Women make up the majority of the audiences at literary festivals and bookshop events. 

They listen to more audiobooks, and attend more literary evening classes.

 Most literary bloggers are women.

I'm not whining, mind you. All right. 

Maybe a little.


But what has this to do with this month's question?

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?


The ghost of William Faulkner was looking over my shoulder as I wrote this, and said,

"The cries of the spirit have been lost in the roil and tumult of rising inflation, of rattling nuclear sabers, and of infantile demands to cater to ever-changing personal pronouns and sexual identities.

By all means, believe the moon is sentient, but do not demand I sing hymns to it at midnight with you. You will find yourself like Linus alone in the pumpkin patch.


Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

Leave no room in the mind for anything but the old verities of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed—

love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. 

Until he or she does so, she labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. 

His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.”

 
To me, the human heart is genderless.

It knows only loneliness, loss, insecurity, compassion or its lack, generosity or greed, fullness or never ending hunger no matter the sex of its host.





I write about what interests me: 

the colorful past, the tragic struggles of human souls striving for what they wrongly believe will fulfill them, for if you are not already complete within yourself no other soul with do the job,

the supernatural, the Golden Age of Hollywood and its secrets, and the colorful urban legends of New Orleans.

I answer questions that have interested me:

 How was it like to be a lesbian in Hollywood where the false fronts were not only found on the studio lot?

How was it like to be a returning soldier from WWII when PTSD was not even recognized much less treated?

What was it like to be a beautiful actress trying to navigate the treacherous waters of deviant studio heads and amoral directors?


I started each of my last three novels with diary entries from a woman who finds herself resurrected in another woman's body after having died on the battlefront two years prior.

I thought it might ground the reader more firmly into the mind of a major character in the novel's eerie story though it is told through the eyes of her wartime lover.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09LGJZ842

Tastes change. 

If you write what you believe readers want, you might be wrong, you will be writing under false colors, prone to be shot at from every side, your heart will not truly be in your prose and it will show.

Worse.

You might be successful and be trapped writing in a style and genre you do not enjoy,

If you stay true to yourself, you will never steer yourself wrong. It may be to a lonely port, but it will have been a worthy journey for your spirit.

But what do I know? 

My favorite Loreena Mckennitt song is an instrumental.

13 comments:

  1. It's always a struggle to find that balance between "write what appeals to a large audience" vs "write what appeals to me even if I'm the only one who gets a kick out of it." I don't try to write anything I don't have some interest in, but I'll make sure that I balance my quirky projects with projects that I think have more widespread appeal.

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  2. Marcus Aurelius wrote: "You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." So I try to write what interests and amuses so at least one person has fun! :-) Thanks for visiting again.

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  3. Very true - all people want the same basic things. That's why writing to the heart lasts longer.

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  4. Nice post! We all have the same needs, food and water, need love, feel safe etc., but I think men and women’s hearts have differences. :)

    My answer to the question: If I weren’t writing for me first, I wouldn’t do it. :)

    Teresa
    T. Powell Writes @ https://journalingwoman.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes. If we weren't writing for ourselves first it would make living with our WIP really awkward! :-)

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  5. Everyone has basic needs and wants. I think more specifically, women want to feel something.

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    1. Men may not show it, but I believe we males want to feel something, too.

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  6. Universal themes will always be there. It's how we treat them differently that makes...well, a difference!

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    1. You're right. Some writers only go for the surface differences and that makes their novel shallow. I fight against that myself.

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  7. Ultimately we write about the human condition, we all want something and our characters want something. Our stories will always resonate with someone if we remember that.

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    1. The best novels show the struggles of people striving to overcome the roadblocks to what they believe is what they desire --- the best books have the characters realize what they truly desired was right beside them all along.

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  8. Interesting topic. I feel women had the privilege to be more emotional than men. However, things are changing now and I like the change that might shape up to be a better future.

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