Explorations: my author blog

A Matter of Trust

Here's something that 's been worrying me a bit - and I have a feeling it's hard to sense this about your own writing. It's something other writers have spoken about - here, for example. Suppose you, the writer, have a particular direction or goal for your story, and you think you've made it quite clear. There are (you think) large signposts everywhere, saying things like: "Warning: This story will be sad. Do not read further if you don't want sad."  Then you hear from a reader who says: "Why was that story so sad? I thought there was going to be a happy ending?" And all you can say is, "You did? Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to disappoint you."

But, of course, you have disappointed that reader. When they picked up your book and decided to keep reading it, they had certain expectations of the story. Those expectations were based on what they'd experienced as they began to read. If you set up a particular set of expectations, and then fail to fulfill them, readers will naturally feel cheated. They may even be angry at you - so angry that they may decide never to read anything else you write. Eep!