That you readers are all so unique is one of my biggest challenges as a writer. What one of you loves, the other of you hates.

I can’t write one sentence on top of another. I only get one choice of what to put down on a blank sheet of paper. There’s no way I can take a story into a direction that both of you will love.

So what to do? Here’s how I resolve this continuing challenge.

I choose people to critique my manuscripts from varied backgrounds, personalities, living situations, gender, locations and ages—my own microcosm of the world of readers.

As you might guess, their comments contradict each other. One wants more description. Another says there’s too much. This one needs more back story to get a true feel for the characters’ lives. That one says there’s too much back story. It slows the pace.

Again…what to do?

Since I’ll be spending a year writing the novel, I have to enjoy the story as it unfolds. When a critique comment goes against what will make me happy as an author, I ignore it. That one decision alone means that folks with opposite personalities and life experiences will not enjoy my novels. It’s the result of having to make choices.

Still…there’s a world of you to draw from – not being able to please all the people all the time is not too bad.

So…how to I resolve the rest?

I like to incorporate as many suggestions as possible. That way readers from varying circumstances can enjoy my novels. Sometimes, if I add just a little description or take out just a little back story, it will please both the reader for and against description or back story. Sometimes, I can move it to another spot which works better or divide it up among chapters.

Then I look at each remaining comment and judge how it will fit technically into the crafting of the story. How difficult it is to do?

Some suggestions eat up time. Some are too complex to carry out. Since my end goal is to release stories for you to read, I’d defeat my purpose if it started taking two plus years to write a novel. I toss those complex, difficult suggestions out.

But…there’s always a few comments left over that I can’t resolve. Technically, I could write them. The problem is they suggest opposite directions – the one thing I can’t do.

Here’s where I circle back to step 1.

In the end the novel is mine. I have to be happy writing it and excited about it when I market it. I make the final choice.

I assure you this method works for me. I’m deliriously happy writing novels. So far, you readers are enjoying them.

All the best. We authors love creating stories for you.

JoAnn (

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Please take a look at my medieval romantic suspense that Samhain Publishing released as e-book last year and in paperback, OUT OF THE DARK. In it a sight-impaired Anglo-Saxon noblewoman overhears a conspiracy in the king’s castle and goes to the Norman sheriff for help. The trouble is that his voice sounds like one of the conspirators. You can download the first half as a pdf to give it a try:

If you enjoy a good medieval romance, you’ll enjoy MATILDA’S SONG which released e-pubbed and in print. Here’s an excerpt: . In it, an Anglo-Saxon woman has a life threatening secret she fears will be revealed when she falls in love with the Norman baron.

Going Medieval with JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

4 thoughts on “Going Medieval with JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

  • October 29, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Hi Leah 🙂
    Thank you for having JoAnn Smith Ainsworth here today & thanks to JoAnn for sharing. I enjoyed learning about your writing process. It doesn't sound like it gets easier the more books you write, does it?
    Thanks again for sharing,
    All the best,

  • October 29, 2009 at 7:40 am

    You're right. It's the book that sells, not the author…unless we're a big name—and I'm a debut author. We must keep the quality up, follow the changing trends of readers’ interests AND keep in mind the uniqueness of individual readers. It's a challenge!

  • October 29, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Hi, JoAnn! Nice to meet you. I'm dropping in to say awesome post; you're very right. It IS hard to balance all these sensibilities that pour in at us writers.

    I posted about this at Win a Book. If you've got links you'd like us to share with others, drop us an e-mail. Leah can explain more if you need it. Or I can.

  • October 29, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I enjoyed reading the post and look forward in reading some great books!

    Tracey D

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