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Innovating Your Writing

If you want to write a thriller, you must have a hero at the mercy of the villain scene. Without it, your story will alienate your readers. They will not be satisfied. They might even avoid your work from then on.

A love story must have a proof of love scene or it isn’t a love story. Mysteries have to have an inciting crime, something to solve. Performance stories must include a performance. Rocky wouldn’t be Rocky without the fight. 

I could go on like this, but I think you see my point. There are certain obligations you have as a writer to satisfy your readers. These are called obligatory scenes and conventions. When you decide to write a certain type of novel, there are promises you make that must be fulfilled to keep your readers reading. 

You might say, “But such and such author didn’t include this scene and their novel was a bestseller.” 

But, when you’re looking at other authors, you have to consider how many books they’ve previously published, whether or not they are a big name, and/or whether people actually read that book and will continue to do so as time goes on based on its merit. 

As a newer writer, there are only so many things you can focus on at once. Your main goal, if you want to be a professional making money at your craft, should be to satisfy your readers. Write the story you want to, of course, but if it doesn’t hook, build, and pay off well, no one but your close friends/family will want to read it (and that’s if you’re lucky). 

Innovating the required scenes

When a new author approaches a novel and picks a genre they might think the required scenes are cliché. And they are, if you write them as such. The point being, the required scenes are the types of scenes we’ve seen over and over our whole lives. We can point out when the hero is at the mercy of the villain in any given movie without much effort. 

That’s where your job as a professional comes in. You must write those scenes as you need to in order to get them on the page. But, before you turn it in to anyone to be read or published, you have to rewrite over and over until something unique comes out of your mind. At least you should, if you want your book to feel new rather than a rehashed story we’ve vaguely seen a million times. 

So, take obligatory scenes and conventions as a chance to stretch your creative muscles. Innovate them. Turn them into your own. Just make sure they are there or you’ll leave your readers wanting. 

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