Thursday, June 27, 2013

More about Trust

In the comments of my last post J.A. Bennet shared this quote by John Green.

"Books are a weird collaboration between author and reader: You trust me to tell a good story and I trust you to bring it to good life in your mind.  I can only hope I held up my end of the bargain."

Thanks for sharing that! 

Several commenters also spoke of the balance we need.  Authors can be pushed by publishers or editors to make the book more mainstream, to meet deadlines, etc.  And it's true.  Authors can be under a lot of pressure, even so, we do need to maintain that balance that allows us to stay true to the story.  This also comes into play when you get conflicting feedback from beta or crit partners.

The readers that keep coming back are going to be the ones that trust us to do the best we can, even if it's not perfect. They trust us to care about the story as much as they want to care about it.  Trust can be a hard commodity to come by in this day and age, but hopefully we'll all be able to find some.

27 comments:

  1. I think if we stay true to the story, that trust will be maintained because I'm sure it wouldn't come across as well if our heart wasn't in it. Very thought-provoking post.

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  2. I've always seen books (as well as most other entertainment) as a symbiotic relationship.

    But, yes, a lot of trust goes into the relationship, as well. I totally agree...

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    1. Definitely a symbiotic relationship. And trust isn't the only thing involved in that relationship but it's part of the foundation.

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  3. It is a relationship, isn't it?

    I had to learn to trust my readers more. When they send me fan mail, I pay attention. In the next book I'll play up what they said they liked.

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  4. I love the quote, Sara. I love what you wrote too.

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    1. Thanks Peaches. I was really glad JA Bennet left that quote.

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  5. I adore that quote, and it is absolutely true. It's why the opening of a book is so critical--it creates that covenant with the reader. As far as critiques and beta readers go, I'll share something I learned in a workshop with editor Cheryl Klein that changed how I look at things. She asked us on the first day to find the Core of the story, the thing that we would never, ever change no matter what. Since I heard that, I have learned to test every bit of criticism or suggestion I receive against that Core. If it strengthens the Core, I use it. If it weakens the Core, I don't. And if it doesn't affect the Core at all, then my next question is how would this question make things clearer for the reader. It makes receiving a critique a whole lot less painful. :D Thanks for sharing this lovely post!

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    1. Thanks for passing on this very helpful advice, Martina!

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  6. I never thought about the trust from the reader's side before! But it's true. Inevitably, because we are all different, there will be some readers that just don't click with your writing, but even then they can uphold the trust: they can say that truthfully without being snarky/mean about why they didn't click with your book.

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  7. Interesting post, Sara. I never thought of the reader-writer relationship as being based on trust, but I suppose it is. Luckily, (or perhaps, foolishly) I trust easily, and expect the best, and so far, very few writers have disappointed me. I can only hope I don't disappoint anyone who takes a chance on reading my book.

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    1. Trusting is a talent and you are lucky to have it. Yeah, sometimes it might lead to being hurt but the ability to love and trust each other is something we need more of in this world.

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  8. Excellent quote. I've never thought of it that way before, but it's true. Have a good weekend!

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  9. A notable quote from your commenter. Indeed, I can understand that. A reader trusts you to make them feel like they are part of the story. I believe a good writer cares as much about the reader as the story's characters. It should be intimate.

    Thank you for this and thank you for your kind comment on my latest posting.

    A peaceful weekend to you.

    Gary

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  10. 'Authors can be pushed by publishers or editors to make the book more mainstream, to meet deadlines, etc.'

    Not if the author chooses to self-publish.

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    1. Valid point, but I'm pretty sure there are pressures and stresses involved in self-publishing, even if they're not the same.

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  11. I trust an author to end a book with as much promise as it began with. Sadly, this is where I'm let down the most. :(

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  12. While we have to learn to trust others to grow, those people also need to show us why we can trust them. It's important for me to know that the other person is deserving of my trust.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

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  13. I concur with your thoughts, S.P. There's a lot of trust weighing in on me at the moment, and time will tell if it pays off in the long run. :)

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  14. Another great, thought-provoking post.

    I think what it boils down to is finding a balance between good fiction writing in general and staying true to yourself and your story--accepting the fact that, no matter what you do, it's impossible to please everyone. What turns one reader off from your book may be the very thing that attracts someone else, and that's okay.

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    1. That's a good boiling down. I should have had you write the post. :)

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  15. It's one thing deal with conflicting feedback from CPs and betas. It's another thing when your editors vision doesn't a line with yours. Or so I can imagine. Haven't been there yet.

    I love your second paragraph. I agree with it 100%. :D

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  16. Al relationshps are built on trust. Its not always easy but relations do take a lot of.work. I enjoyed the post very much

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    1. Relationships, and books, take a lot of work. But I find they're generally worth it in the end.

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  17. I do like the quote. Even between authors and readers, trust, when lost, is difficult to restore.

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  18. I always find this difficult when I think I've said all that needs to be said for the story but still get comments that either I haven't trusted the reader enough or the opposite, that I'm not trusting them enough! I need to take better notes on which scenes these conflicting comments come in...
    Love John Green!

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