One for Me, Two for You (August IWSG)

I haven’t written for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop in a few months, but I’m climbing back on the bandwagon this month! August’s question is: When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I think most writers want to be known for their creative and original ideas, especially any who have wanted to be a Serious Writer for a long time. Most of the time, they have one particular story that’s burning to be told, and they don’t want to ruin it by being “formulaic.” But there’s a reason there is a whole industry built on genres of fiction that rely heavily on tropes and familiar themes: readers love them.

How do we navigate that, then? How do we stay true to our writing scruples but still produce work that people want to read? Well, the way I’ve started thinking about it is One for Me, Two for You.

The first draft of anything is just for me. I am the only person who I need to please with that first draft. That is my space to play, explore, and emote, worry free. I’m thinking about audience, but it’s an audience of one.

In the second draft, I expand my audience, turn it outwards. I focus less on the reader understanding ME and my intentions as a writer and more on what the reader wants or needs. Ideally, they will forget about me entirely and just experience the story for themselves. And yes, sometimes that’s going to mean leaning into the formula and tropes of the tried-and-true.

So what do you think? Do you want to be break-the-mold original, or do you lean into the genre? How would One for Me, Two for You work in your world?

This post is part of the monthly blog-hop hosted by the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, members are encouraged to write a post about their writing life and struggles, and visit other blogs in the hop to network and encourage one other. If you are interested in visiting the other blogs or joining yourself, visit the website here.

6 thoughts on “One for Me, Two for You (August IWSG)”

  1. I’m glad you joined us this month. I agree that readers expect certain things when reading in certain genres. I try to balance that with writing what I think the story should be. Sounds like you have a good system to create the balance between the two as well.

  2. Yours was a thoughtful reply, while I avoided the question all together. You’ve made think about my process, which has refined as I’ve gained skills. Because I’ve written the characters of my ‘Faith, Family, Frenzy!’ series across the span of ten years, the characters’ dialogue truly comes from them – and they please me, vying for position as top character because I seldom plot… So fun!

    Until my flotilla of beta readers get involved – hahaha

  3. Welcome back!
    As a reader, if an author expects me to buy the book, I have expectations. If an author doesn’t care if I buy the book, it’s an all-skate. I haven’t reached the point of caring yet. 🤣

  4. Hi Abby,

    Interesting thoughts. especially on that first draft, and its readership of one.
    That question ? The truth ? Ideally, of course I’d want both, including the Serious Writer status. but only in my dreams. Extending that readership, I shared a completed work with a relative working in publishing, the response was devastating – ‘ You’re not a writer’ Damning .
    Since my first and only agent died, I haven’t managed to find another. Instead, I met my late mentor coded as ‘ The Spy’ -whose early career could not have been more different. ‘ Publishing has changed. Do it now. You’ve no time to lose – and directed me to online publishing.


  5. As I begin a new project, your comments about One for Me and Two for You really appealed. I too get lost in the story in that first draft and then revise, revise, revise. So, it might be Four for Me and Four for You! One reader threw me a challenge to work on deep point of view more. So there’s more research ahead as well as thinking through the story that I already love. Welcome back to IWSG and may the month ahead bring you lots of good writing!

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