Friday, July 6, 2007


Admit it. This is not what you expected to see.

But it's who I am. Or at least one tiny bit of who I am, in a punky Halloween mood. I'm showing you this side of me because after yesterday's oh so serious post, I didn't want any of you to get know, EXPECTATIONS.

Expectations that I would post poetry every day. (Although, yes, I love writing poetry.) That I would always talk about Big Issues. (Although, yes, I love a great conversation with friends.) That I would only use one word titles. (Although, oops, I did that again today.)

So, let's talk about your expectations. What do you expect from a writer's book? If she's a new author, do you expect to make a friend? If she's a familiar author, do you want her next book to be "just like the last one," only "better"? Do you delight in having your book expectations met?

Or are you like me? Do you like books that surprise you? I'm the series author's nightmare. Because if I pick up a book, and it's just like the last one, well...I've been there before. (And don't get me started on series that cut off in mid-story, leaving me to dangle until the next hype cycle.) Heck, I even want my own writing to surprise me.

I want a complete story. I want a fresh story. And I want the author (and my own writing) to take me someplace I never expected to go.

Really, is that expecting too much?


  1. I completely agree! I hate knowing too much about a book (or a movie) before I start it, and even if it's a familiar author I certainly don't want the same story or characters. If I like an author's previous work, I guess there is a certain "expectation" of knowing the author is capable of certain things or has particular strengths, and hoping that s/he will hit that level again with the new book. But hopefully in a new way.

  2. M.T. Anderson is a good example. I expect that he will blow me away, but HOW he's going to do it? Yeah, that's the fun.

  3. As to what Eisha said, I find this a difficult balance when I'm writing a review (or recommendation or whatever I should call it) at our blog. I don't want to give too much away, though I want to give the interested reader a good sense of why the book worked for me.

    Anyway, I really don't think, honestly, that when I pick up a debut author's second book that I expect it to be "better." I just expect something new. I don't want the same story rehashed. I, actually, feel nervous for the new author's second book, somehow hope that the rest of the world won't place such heavy expectations on him or her to blow you away with the writing, you know? That comes from having this invisible set of antennae on my head that can tell when someone in a room is unhappy or feeling slighted; it's a curse and a blessing (but I digress).

    And, no, I don't think I expect a new author to be my friend. I just want his or her best -- some stylistic writing, a riveting tale.

    I'm probably rambling, so I'm off for now. Thanks for our blogversary well-wishings.


  4. Jules, I know all about those little antennae...I have to turn them off when I write.

    And every author who has "heavy expectations" placed upon them blesses you for feeling nervous for them!

    Glad you liked the punk look. Maybe I should invite everyone in the kidlitosphere to join me in posting a picture (or a blog entry) that defies people's expectations of them. Anyone??

  5. Um, Sara, NO on the posting pictures. You go right ahead, though--I would never have known Punk Sara was you.

    As for the book issue, I am a series-writer's best friend. Once I sign on for the ride, I'm there. I love to be in familiar territory with the characters I love, and watch what they have to handle next. That part can be a surprise, but I want my people in those books to be consistent. Just like my friends.

    But I'm definitely up for being surprised in the stand-alones. Like John Green. Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines are such different books, both so enjoyable, but I really appreciated that in Katherines he really let loose on the funny. I'd already seen deep, so I know he can do it. I'm glad he didn't feel the need to keep going deeper.

    Although if his next book is back to a more serious topic, I'll read that, too. Whatever. He's already earned my trust.

  6. Ha! Robin, I knew you would stand up for book series. And yes, I love great characters, too. The Chronicles of Prydain had me all the way through and back again, many times.

    And as to the challenge, I added in "(or a blog entry)" just for you.

  7. Good point, Robin, about John Green's books.

    I am game for posting an image that defies people's expectations. I'll have to think on it (and I still have to post my felt board, too -- ahhhh! I'm so slow these days!)


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