The recent Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision got me thinking about the various groups who openly share thoughts on the matter. They all had strong opinions and were not shy about sharing them with every possible media outlet or person who would listen. But what if a person in one of these groups disagreed with the “group opinion?” The other members would not be happy and may even ask the member to leave.
That harsh reaction seems confusing because humans are diverse, and we have many opinions. Why should we be 100% in agreement with everybody in the group? Yet, we appreciate like minds and enjoy being accepted. Some of us even enjoy directing the group opinion.
Conformity has been part of our mental patterns since the beginnings of civilization. Along the way, the popular people removed decenters, and this action further strengthened the group. This conformity extends to all areas of human existence. For example, it would be unlikely that a high school math club would hold a sporting event.
The fraternity of authors must also abide by certain rules or risk being shunned by readers. For example, publishers manufacture books to specific sizes, and the stories follow content, structure, and format rules.
A big rule to follow is to keep the story within the pre-stated boundaries of which the book is marketed. For example, a mystery book must contain a mystery. Halfway through, the mystery part of the story cannot end without resolution, and the plot turns romantic. Authors must commit themselves to meet their reader’s expectations or risk harsh reactions. The same applies to character types. The evil killer cannot become an adorable person who loves puppies. Instead, their evil heart must extend to all parts of their personality.
What about a mystery-romance book? That’s fine, but the mystery and romance elements must exist from the start (and the book description). The same is true with anti-heroes or characters with complex personalities.
Is this book format notion as strong as the deep-rooted issues facing our society like Roe vs Wade? One is tempted to answer no, but I disagree. People have nearly infinite entertainment options and will harshly reject anything they disapprove of. Every author knows readers will put down a terrible book in the blink of an eye and write a scathing review. New readers will not pick up a book if they dislike its description or cover. They are further influenced by bad reviews. This means that new readers apply lots of effort to avoid something they may not enjoy reading. However, they apply their rejection effort from the comfort of their computer chair or while browsing the library or book store. But we must not forget that millions of readers actively choose not to read a particular book. Like mine. Did I mention that my second book is for sale?
Driving to a protest requires significant effort. Even discussing a matter, or finding an online outlet to discuss a topic, requires much more effort than putting down a book or clicking “one star.” Therefore, I would argue that an author must treat their readers with great respect.
To prevent rejection, an author must be “all in.” For example, halfway through a romance book, the plot cannot pivot to science fiction without warning. It’s funny that humans are so rigid, and we cannot accept a unique story format.
The same applies to this blog. My four regular readers are used to my quirky style and focus on writing. So while my readers have tolerated vague material that takes a while to make a point, my readers would not accept a sudden switch to an intense Roe vs Wade discussion.
On a side note, my Roe vs Wade opinion is not too exciting. I feel X, and if this is not your opinion, I understand. But we need to wrap this blog up with the spirit of this topic. So, I am all in with bringing this topic to a close.
You’re the best -Bill
July 27, 2022
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