Friday, July 29, 2011

Taking Chances

This may sound like a rehash of my post a few weeks ago about how far is too far, but hopefully it won't be. Something occurred today that brought it to the fore for me again and I guess I'm still not done churning this topic. So bear with me. Maybe by next week I'll be ready to tackle my next topic, which I think may be the very vital differences between erotica and erotic romance and why it peeves me when people use the terms interchangeably. (And yep, I'm easily peeved at the moment!) Or it might be about coffee, my most faithful lover in a cup. Not that I have any other lovers in a cup...

Anyhoo. There's an author I greatly admire. She writes both erotic romance and regular romance under a different pseudonym. She didn't inspire the forthcoming post, but reactions to her work did.

So far, she has been almost unilaterally praised—at least that I've seen—for her unusual characters and unique scenarios. That praise is well-deserved, IMO. She's not afraid to go places others won't touch. But with her latest book, what I've suspected would happen finally has. The very thing she's been praised for is now a source of complaint. Not too shocking, as all writers realize that not everyone will like their work. It's a lesson hard-won early on. But I think it's...disturbing, maybe, to see the same level of offputtedness (yes, I made up a word) where once there was fervent passion. Maybe reading is kind of like a love affair. When it's good, it's SO good. When it goes bad, watch out!

From what I've seen of this author as a person, this won't change her. I think she'll still write the same way she always has. But I think it's so interesting that the very thing people love often becomes the same thing those people grow to dislike.

For one thing, her characters are usually edgy and real. Sometimes too edgy and real, for those who like their heroes and heroines a little less hard to understand. She takes chances. She “goes there.” Like mine, a lot of her characters proudly wear the quirky badge, usually because they're a mishmash of characteristics that don't go together in typical ways.

By contrast, Nora Roberts, another of my favorite writers, is too often accused lately of all her books “sounding the same.” To me, the experience one expects from reading a NR book is exactly WHY a reader goes back to her. Knowing the road Nora will take me down, even if the turns aren't as tricky as some other authors' choices, is one of the reasons I return to read her again and again. Yet I also like to be challenged, to never be sure what hat the author above will be wearing when I embark on reading one of her stories.

Do you like authors to challenge you by not being sure what angle they'll come at you next—or if they'll even pick an angle you'll enjoy? Or are your favorites your favorites precisely because you think you know what to expect?

7 comments:

D. F. Krieger said...

My opinion is short and sweet: If it is a series, I'd like it to be rhythmic and similar. Otherwise, give me whatever range you feel you can accomplish.

Harlie Reader said...

I like it when an author mixes it up. I read many authors that write "mainstream" and then "erotic" and while the writing is much different, I like it just the same. For me, it shows the author's range and the risks that they take to write. As a newbie writer, I have found my voice but that doesn't mean down the road, my voice won't change.

Great post today Cari. And yes, coffee is the never leave you lover.

Allie Standifer said...

Oh oh oh I agree with Cari!!! You're damned if you do & damned it you don't! Good thing we write for our own pleasure/pain or else I, for one, would be screwed. There's nothing normal or sane about my characters. Then again I've been told there's nothing normal or sane about me :)
Thanks for bringing this to light, Cari!

Allie Standifer said...

BTW, Coffee is cheating on me with YOU!! Well, I never....

Taryn Elliott said...

Ahhh the ever lovely damned if you do, damned if you don't. I like the surprise factor myself.
one of my fave authors went left of field on me with her last series of books.

Karen Marie Moning.
I looved, loved, loooooved her Highlander series. Alpha heroes with a touch of the paranormal. But then she got this bug in her ear and tried something different.

at first I hated it. *sigh* We've gone a few rounds about the topic of 1st person. I'm coming around to it--but it does depend on the author's voice whether I like it or not. And by book 2 of the series I was ready to go on the ride with her. Even tho I was resistant.

Push the envelope or stay on your tried and true courses--it really depends on my mood.

But Nora--she remains LaNora in my eyes. Because even a mediocre Nora is still better than half the writers out there IMHO.

Great topic.

And you can babble about whatever you want, babes. Always interesting topics to be had.

She said...

Since I read most genres I like when authors try different ones. For me it gets boring to read the same thing so I imagine authors get tired of writing the same thing. I don't want cookie cutter books. I like it shaken up.

Cari Quinn said...

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping by!

I'm happy to see most of you like variety in what you read. One of my favorite sayings is that cooking up stories isn't like putting things in an easy bake oven. Every time you use different ingredients which makes each creation different. Sometimes your chances pay off, sometimes they don't. But mixing things up keeps things interesting, right?