So, it's really not a matter of 'leaving it up to the reader' so much as the author actually targeting a certain audience
I disagree a bit about "not a matter of leaving it up to the reader". Why? Because I earn my money with books on the other side of pole => by choosing and presenting literature in the adult section of my library.
And it's like dancing on egg shells: I try to interest readers for various kind of genres. So, those members relying on my judgement, I will find the appropriate entertainment for them, are dependent on me. I give them a short review about the content (using the magic key words, according to the reader type in front of me) and then leave it up to them if they enjoy a book or not. And maybe it's only my library members(but I know differently <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" /> ) => a lot of females love the Mary Sue kind of books. Can be as repetetive as you fear in your hardest nightmares - yes, they want these Mary Sues. And, writer, whoever you are => DON'T dare to walk astray and present them a different kind of typus <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
An example? Nora Roberts <shudder>, specially her new books, distorting the fantasy genre. Cartland, Woodiwiss ... name it and you hit the bull's eye.
So, I, the humble "literature broker", the book mule - I leave it up to the readers to decide.
Book plots have sadly become very repetetive as you described, Faralas. Maybe this is the cause why I mainly skim through books and put them only into my mobile RAM memory (brains) to pass on this knowledge. I have very very seldom found a novel in the last 5 years really interesting me up to the end. I'm talking as a reader now - and it's not only me: My colleagues and I have discussed this a few days ago => they feel the same. Nearly no innovation anymore. Sad, huh? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/puppyeyes.gif" alt="" />
Oops, seems I didn't make myself clear - once again. I'm sorry, Kiya, I agree with you. What I was trying to say is that for the new writer - who is fresh off the pencil-sharpening boat - he/she must think about their audience *if* they ever want to publish their work. I never meant to imply that audiences do not have a 'say' in the shaping of the author's work. To the contrary, they are 'the' vital element in terms of communication. Unless writing for or speaking to oneself is the goal.
Many writers new to the craft (myself included at one point) are not aware that writing, like painting or any other art, has 'structure'. I have made every single mistake in 'the book' throughout the years. That was after I learned there was a 'book' (read: rules and guidelines) on 'how' to write. This is not to say that freeform writing or stream of consciousness does not have its place - it does. However, in my experience, if one's intent is to publish their work, it is wise to learn who your audience is.
Rowling's "Harry Potter" was rejected by approximately 25 publishing houses before an editor took it under his/her wings, thought enough about the story to want to publish it. So, while you may feel the book that you've spent a year or two pouring your heart and soul into has potential for publication, you have to 'pitch' it to a publisher. It's called a synopsis. And, in that synopsis you have to tell the publisher who you view as your audience. The author is not the only cog in the publishing wheel. Many writers new to the craft are not aware of the facts of publishing. That's what I try to shed light on and why I illuminate the fact that the writer *must* target an audience.
I hope this makes more sense. Otherwise, I'm getting out of the profession. LOL
Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />
P.S. Oh, and yes - the rehashing of plots is a sad affair. However, when I do find a novel like Fitch's "White Oleander", it inspires hope that I will find more if I keep digging. *g*