Before we were writers, we were readers, and we had expectations, certain things that a good story has to do or not do.
We expect there to be a compelling conflict and relatable characters. We expect a lot from the story.
But we also expect a lot of technical skill from the author. We expect the author to have thoroughly revised their piece to be the best possible version. Or, rather, we expect them to have revised it more than once. We expect the sentences to flow and the text to be free from grammatical mistakes and typos.
We also expect the writer to have done their research. We want the writer to actually know what they are talking about. And if they don’t know, we expect them to hide the fact that they don’t know and make us think that they do.
On the flipside, I personally expect the research to be seamless. I do not want to be able to tell that the author Googled pneumonia symptoms. That actually happened. I was reading a book, and a character got sick and went to the doctor, and the doctor literally just listed off all the symptoms of pneumonia and was like “looks like you’ve got it!” I expect a little bit more finesse than that. Honestly, writers also need to gauge how common information is before including it in their writing.
I want research to inform the story but not overshadow it.
We as writers need to be aware of the expectations of our readers. If we aren’t, we risk letting them down and them never reading our writing again.
What are some of your expectations as a reader and as a writer?