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The question of whether Vance was dead or not became more than academic when he found himself in a bathtub up to his chin in ice water like some forgotten cocktail garnish, a demonic woman standing over him, and no memory of how he got there.
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The Red Rook, sequel to Dispensing Justice and the second novel of Nova Genesis World is now available for Kindle or as a paperback at Amazon.
Read free chapters of Dispensing Justice here (or get it here).
Read free chapters of The Red Rook here (or get it here). -- Fritz Freiheit

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Analyze Novels (link)

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My immediate reaction to "[M]ost authors will agree that when you are targeting a particular genre, say Young Adult (YA), you should stick to the literary yard sticks of the like-minded novels already in print." is equivocal. While I agree that there things in a successful work (of genre) that can be pointed to as contributing to the (popular) success of that work, I think root cause analysis of success is extremely difficult. While I don't want to discourage such an analysis, statistical or otherwise, I would be very careful about mapping features to success given the extremely large and diverse set of inputs (i.e. novels, successful or otherwise) and the contexts of their success (or failure). For example, I am aware of a study which found a correlation between publication date and the rating given on GoodReads where the older the book, the higher the number of stars. That is, the context of "now" creates a different answer for a given book's quality rating based on what the date "now" is.

To me, this makes the claim "Statistical outliers have a reduced chance of success in this industry where even the smallest deviation will cause the agent or publisher to discard even before a reading." suspect. This isn't to say that statistical outliers might not be predictive, I'm just not sure that the relationship is linear. For instance, and this is something I've been thinking about for a while, the graph of "potential for popular success" on the Y and "conformity to reader expectations or genre" on the X axis, might look like the "Uncanny Valley" graph with a fall off after the the valley, where stories that diverge some from expectations are more popular than stories that diverge more but aren't radical enough to form a different genre, then falls off again when they become even more radical. Sorry, if that's hard to picture, I'll have to create a graph and post it on my website. What I'm trying to say here, is that major departure from reader expectations are sometimes a good thing.

I've added diagrams, see below. I've also added some more comments. See more comments...

The genre readers expectations valley (image).png

Inspired by

The uncanny valley (image).png

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The relationship between variant from user expectations and user engagement is, I think, predominantly one of semantics, although, come to think of it, syntax and platform will play some role, possibly even a critical role. But syntax and platform are more at the level of irritant that is capable of rising to show stopper status, such as font, print size, page format and layout, typos, and physical form (book vs ebook). I’ll ignore syntax and platform as I think they’re manageable and not particularly interesting. When it comes to semantics, I like to consider things in terms of tropes and genre, which are, in my opinion, intimately intertwined. Reader expectations are shaped by the reader’s assumption of a works genre. This in turn leads to acceptable tropes and other narrative elements. When a works use of tropes and other narrative elements are easily predictable, then the reader gets bored (for most readers, there is an alternative reading intent that emphasizes predictability, but I’ll save that for another time). Less predictable use of tropes etc is better, to a point, then it gets too unpredictable and thus uncomfortable. The question in my mind is, that once a new mix of tropes is sufficiently unpredictable, that for some readers this is even better, maybe because it recreates the sense one had when first reading a genre.
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