Monday, January 7, 2013

The fairness dilemma

Just a little update on the EMC novella I'm writing. I did a lot of work on it over the weekend. I'm currently about 2/3 of the way through the first draft, and last night I ended up in a strange dilemma. In the chapter I'm working on (which I won't specify) I'd planned to put Character X in a tight situation; but when it came time to write the scene, I realized it had to be even tighter. I needed more drama in that part of the story, so Character X's tight situation is now life-or-death.

That put me in a funny spot because I realized that ending the chapter with X mid-crisis would make for a perfect cliffhanger. I'd have readers tearing their hair out for a week. };-) On the other hand, it would also make for a chapter only half the length of the others, and readers would be crying "no fair."

There's a debate I've had with some of my fellow authors about how much we owe our readers. Most of the EMC writers I know admit to beefing up sex scenes just because the audience expects them, although what turns us on is the MC. Personally, I can get more turned on by a movie with an MC scene and no sex (like most of the ones in my last post) than an EMC story with explicit sex.

 Another part of the "How much do we owe our readers" debate is about plot. What do we allow to happen to characters the audience really cares about? Do we own our creations entirely, or does our readers' investment in their fates mean the readers have some ownership as well? You might be surprised to learn I take the latter view. After all, I've done some horrible things to my characters - even if they end up loving them! But I feel like I have an obligation to my readers. I write for my own pleasure, but also for yours. In fact, I probably write more for your pleasure than I ought to; I'm sensitive that way.

All this is to say that, by the end of the night, I decided to solve X's dilemma within the chapter and end it at another scene...which also, completely coincidentally, is a cliffhanger. ;-P


Tabico said...

Fuck 'em! Fuck 'em, sez I!

thrall said...

Well, well, well! The capital T of the T-trio reappears! How goes it, Tabico?

Tabico said...

Oh, you know, the usual end of year / start of year craziness. Managed to get a new story started over at the EMCSA though, and the latest part of my comic collab with Uzobono is out.