Skip to Content


What should we write: what the author wants or what the reader wants?

We came across this analysis about “Man of Steel”:

“Some might look at that scene and ask, “What else could Superman have done?” Others might offer alternative endings to the scene. It’s not a useful conversation. It’s the usual, “Who would win in a fight?” The answer is always that the outcome is determined by the writer, and the story bends to fit that outcome. Superman killed Zod not because there was no other choice, but because the people conceiving the story wanted Superman to kill Zod. (By a majority of two-to-one, according to recent reports.)” (Andrew Wheeler, “Choice and the Moral Universe of Man of Steel’ [opinion],” June 21, 2013,

Several streams of thought collide here. On the one hand, some authors want a kind of integrity for their work, their characters and the story they have been carrying inside them, sometimes for years.  Other, more practical, writers just want to be read, and in that case, it may be tempting to turn to tried-and-tested formulas to grab the audience’s attention. The conventional opinion has been that integrity should win over the forces espousing a certain artlessness. However, we believe it’s not the recipe that leads to success but the right proportion of ingredients. And that’s where an author can stand out and give his or her work a personal touch.