W is for Weird

I had a Twitter conversation today where it occurred to me that sometimes it is possible for a book to be too creative. A book about weird things, a book that involves things that are not familiar to the reader will not be as successful as a book that does involve the familiar.

It’s not as if I am unfamiliar with this concept. I read an article months on how successful books need to be like something else people knew about, but just different enough to stand out. I can’t find this article now. 😦

I have heard it before in the advice that you need to know what genre your book is. Because if a book doesn’t slot neatly into an existing genre, publishers won’t buy it.

It’s just . . . Accepting people won’t like a book if it’s too different from what they are used to is hard to accept.

I grew up thinking the more creative a book, the better it is. Maybe that’s not true.  Maybe it’s just weird.

That’s sort of depressing.

9 thoughts on “W is for Weird

  1. There will always be someone who likes your book, however weird it is. It will strike a chord that others do not. Finding it is the difficult bit. Publishers might not touch it because they won’t take risks on non-commercial things. Mind you, I can’t imagine why they took a risk on the book I’ve just put down. 😉

    Be true to yourself. Make sure you know why you write what you want to write. And there’s a whole genre called Weird, you know – I like it!

  2. The trouble is that each person has their own definition of “weird.” It’s futile to try to find to find the midpoint between “too weird” and “too familiar” that will suit all readers equally.

  3. I think the reason people need to seek the familiar is it gives them a grounding, a place to step off from to go into the unknown. If you were going to read a brand new genre, of course you have no expectation of what should be included, but people tend to stick to genres they enjoy, so if your book doesn’t follow at least a couple of the accepted pieces of the genre, they might feel alienated. I don’t think it has to do with weird, so much as that grounding. Give them a character they can relate to, and then you can go wild! Or, give them a plot they can relate to, and go nutty with your characters that populate the story.

  4. Stopping by from the #atozchallenge 2015! Don’t forget our after party. The Reflections Linky List will open on Monday May 4th.
    Great post. I’m following you on your listed social media sites. Sometimes the writer has to be talented enough to MAKE people want something. Take “Red Queen” for example. It’s fantasy, but it’s modern, and it’s more speculative fiction than fantasy. The book is great. But what else is like it? Maybe in a very small way some fairy tales, but just barely. (And it stops to note that and laugh about it.) So don’t get down. Just ROCK hard.
    J @JLenniDorner

  5. This can be a bit of a sticky wicket, especially if you want your book to reach a large audience. Maybe the weird factor is a bit subjective, of course, but you will always find people who will want to buy it 🙂

  6. I think a lot of it comes down to how you introduce it to a reader. I am okay with a lot of ‘weird’ as long as it seems to fit with how the story is launched, and that it has a logic somewhere within the weirdness. Otherwise I just get lost. This makes me think of arts films vs. commercial films…sometimes an arts film will resonate with me, and sometimes it feels like a mess and I just don’t get it.

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