Question 1: Writing outside the box

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Einsteininlove asks: "What if the reader likes the way the story is going, but feels that there's nothing new? Because so far this guide tells us only how to write the way others will like. What if the reader expects mind-bending content? Like they feel that, in order to make the story likable, the author has played safe and there's nothing challenging for an avid reader."

Leave it to this guy to start off our question/answer session with a tough one, haha! So basically, he's asking how we can cater to those readers who want something outside the norm. Or, how would you, as an author, break these rules and still write a successful story?

This guidebook was created for the writers out there just starting their journey. Their "toolbox" of writing tips is pretty empty, so I'm hoping to give them some tidbits to start with. Before we can take off into the stratosphere with our writing, we first need to understand the basics of what makes stories good.

What "good" is can be debated for days. I'm defining it here as what makes a reader want to keep reading a story and finish it. And this varies greatly from reader to reader. With some exceptions, the tips I presented here form the basic foundation for all successful stories. Once we understand how they work, and why they work, then we can look for ways to surpass the expected. We can't do this if we don't know what's expected in the first place.

Those of us who don't write for a living are free to experiment. We can try weird, unexpected things. We can take one of my guidelines and throw it out the window in order to do the opposite. Think about what most readers might expect to happen next in a story, and then do something else. Some readers may like it a lot. Others may not not. You never know until you try.

But remember: I didn't make up these guidelines. They are proven tips that are often circulated and taught because they work. They are the elements that maintain reader interest across most genres. I can't really teach how to write mind-bending stories because I don't write them myself. I'm still trying to perfect the basic good story.

This answer may be kind of long and meandering, and I'm not even sure I answered the question, but the bottom line I want to convey is this: You are not bending or confining yourself in order to please readers by following these guidelines. They are to help you finesse your writing into the best version of itself. Where you go from there is up to you.

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