Most times, when we write a story, we write a story we’d like to read. It’s what we search for when we read. If your writing isn’t meant to leave your personal notebook, this can work well.
Once you release the writing beyond your personal borders, you need to consider a different aspect of your writing. Do you write what someone else would want to read?
Yes, I realize that the artist doesn’t bend to the will of the people. That doesn’t guarantee a sale, though, does it?
Just because you would read the story, it doesn’t always translate to what others want to read.
If you’re writing in a style similar to a famous author, sometimes, that gains you points. People can compare your writings and suggest you to fans of the famous author. However, it could also lead to two problems. One comes from people assuming that your writing is the famous author’s writing and your name is their pen name. Flattering, but not good for your pocket. The other problem is accusations of theft and plagiarism. Those accusations are career killers.
Let’s go the opposite direction. You’ve got a unique style that no one’s seen before. If your style is so far outside of the norm, it may become unsalable, because readers don’t understand it. It might not match anyone’s desired concept, so won’t get past the slush pile reader. In every case, it stalls your career at the door.
I’ve offered warnings. Now how do you figure out who your reader is?
This is where a writing group or two becomes handy. I’ve suggested staying away from the genre pigeon hole while writing. Once you’ve developed enough of a story that you’d feel safe for others to read, let your writers group see the writing. If your personal demons won’t let an unfinished piece away from your desk, wait until you’ve completed it. That won’t alter the task.
With other readers, even ones who read critically for errors, you’ll find hints of problems to having an audience. As an example, if you’re trying to write someone’s speech patterns phonetically, many readers will either skip it or put your story down. Writing group members will remark to the difficulty of reading it and offer ways to repair it.
Consider this also offers a reason to have a writing group larger than you plus one or two. The more opinions that you get, the better a feel you have for the problems within the text. Five people read a story. One comment on a problem out of five might be ignored. Three or more comments on the same problem requires a closer look, even if the opinions are not all the same. It was enough for them to say something.
Over time, you’ll discover your perfect reader for your writing and focus on pleasing them as well as yourself.
Today's post was inspired by the topic “Your Ideal Reader” as part of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/. This ongoing tour allows you, the reader, travel around the world from author's blog to author's blog.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s posting over at: http://suesantore.com/
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/