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Entertain on your favorite frequency
Opinion | Writing to market while being yourself
Shared Interests Abound
I saw my favorite band in concert recently. As I made my way through the arena, I noticed everyone smiling and being very polite to each other. People were high-fiving and cheering the band’s name. I met the folks around my seat and chatted about our history of listening to the band.
After the arena filled, the lights dimmed, and the cheering started, I realized everyone had reasons for being there that night, but one thing brought us together: a shared interest.
Whether it’s music, film, art, literature, or any creative pursuit, there are endless unique variations to the production and enjoyment of entertainment. That’s why we continue to like new things despite the cliche that everything has been done before. Iteration and adaptation of past successes can be ripe opportunities for breaking new ground.
Shared interests filled the arena that night; the love of music; the appreciation for live instrumentation; the desire to hear the singer’s voice crescendo with cheering fans; the thump of the bass pulsing like a second heartbeat. Yet, the musicians didn’t invent these concepts. They merely adopted the structure and channeled their creative impulses through it to make it their own.
The same could be said for writing fiction. We don’t necessarily have to invent a new genre or build an entire universe to tell a unique story. Playing with proven frameworks can be a masterful way of introducing a new spin on an old concept.
Because the band was on a new album tour, they played new songs I hadn’t heard before. Even though I love their music, and it was captivating to hear the new songs for the first time in that venue, I only really connected with the songs I had come to cherish throughout the last few years. The nostalgia of them, if you will.
It’s an odd conundrum for musicians on tour, I’m sure. If they only played the new music, then the fans (I’m merely concluding from my feelings on this subject) wouldn’t have experienced the rhythmic satisfaction a familiar song brings. So despite it being an album tour, they wisely chose to intersperse their best hits into the lineup.
This is important because it demonstrates the primal way we consume entertainment. We desperately want to simultaneously experience the expected and the unexpected, a desire for something wholly original while being comforted that it will somehow satisfy those internal boxes we call “expectations.”
There’s an opportunity to write to market in a way that checks reader expectations while confidently charting your path in the narrative. It allows a framework to be set like a promise that says, “We both like the same things. Trust me on this.”
Alternatively, I think subverting expectations is a dangerous game to play. But that’s dependent on the project and the degree of subversion, which is beyond the scope of this post. However, let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Conduits of a Shared Frequency
As creatives, I imagine we have an inner rhythm that pulses so loudly that we must channel it outward lest we crack from the pressure. We become a conduit for artistic expression that ultimately broadcasts our inherent frequency. Others with similar bandwidths can pick up that frequency and choose whether or not to partake.
Writing within specific genres and utilizing popular tropes can adjust the dial to the frequencies that resonate the most with the desired audiences. Within these parameters, shared interests flourish, and fans cheer in unison at the unique rhythms emanating from the page.
However, new frequencies can and should be established. Eventually, after much work, time, and dedication, your ideas could be what others base their work on. Many people appreciate the same qualities of cinema, cuisine, and music you do. The same can be said about writing. You’ll make your mark if you stick with it and make it your own.
Broadcast your frequency, and others will start tuning in.
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