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Abby Goldsmith
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Writing Advice & Discussion > Subverting tropes: a hard sell

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message 1: by Abby (new)

Abby Goldsmith (abby_goldsmith) | 22 comments I blogged about a major roadblock I'm running into with publishing industry readers. They see a trope, assume that's all it is, and stop reading before the trope gets subverted.

Most beta readers don't seem to mind the tropes and keep reading. But I'm worried that it will turn off a percentage of jaded readers, unless I can reassure them, within the first few chapters, that "this trope will be turned on its head." Any advice?

message 2: by V.M. (new)

V.M. Gautier | 4 comments This is a tough one. (I say this as someone whose written a novel with a sexy female vampire as its protagonist.) I'm not sure what you mean by "publishing industry readers." If you mean agents and you're sending them something unsolicited, then yes it' going to be a hard slog. They may stop reading as soon the second they see the trope, or the prologue, or just about anything. If you mean bloggers and other reviewers -- that also may be a tough sell although you might stand a chance with a really witty description. Here's what I think (but what do I know?): I think if your description states your intent that will help. Also you probably will need to start with turning the tropes on their head almost immediately. Plus, the story itself will have to be so interesting that even the jaded will want to keep going.

message 3: by Sudhir (new)

Sudhir Joglekar (josuchi) | 14 comments Abby says 'publishing industry professionals' not 'readers', V.M. and I think she means either the agents or reviewers...
But if it's agents, wouldn't it be clear to them in the synopsis? The synopsis is not a blurb to keep the trope's subversion a secret.
As for the actual readers, a large majority will be as persistent as the betas if the story hooks them.

message 4: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (kelsey_simon) | 103 comments I would think you could put it in the query too. I think Query Shark has had a few posts/ queries that she has written comments on about this. It feels very familiar. And I'm pretty sure that for something like this she says you can set up the trope, then break it, in the query. It won't spoil anything for the agents, I don't think they care if you spoil something for them or not as long as they understand what your novel is about.

I'd say just get out with it for the publishing industry, worry about keeping it sneaky for your everyday reads.

message 5: by Abby (new)

Abby Goldsmith (abby_goldsmith) | 22 comments Thanks! I'm try in to signal the subversion in the query pitch and in chapter 1. Great suggestions.

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