Wednesday, August 3, 2022

#ISWG: For Whom Do You Write?

This month's question: When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

This month’s question got me thinking about how much I think about my audience when I write. I know the cardinal rule is to keep your audience in mind. But for better or worse, it really varies for me…

Middle Grade: I tend to have a specific person in mind when I write, usually a student, one of my sons, or a child of a friend. The common denominator is this child is struggling to find books they want to read. Or sometimes I’m inspired by a gap I see in MG books.

YA: These have generated the most enthusiasm from my adult critique partners. I usually start with an idea from my own life, so I feel like I’m writing more for myself, the book I would like to read. It's rare that I’m thinking of a specific teen…even though I'm pretty much surrounded by teens in real life.

Short stories: These are my experimental works. I try things in short stories I’d never do in a novel. Like writing from the point of view of a book!

Nonfiction Articles: I don’t write these much anymore, but I always wrote specifically for the publication, either off their wish list or theme list. But since I write for kids, I enjoyed the challenge of finding a way to explain an obscure historical tidbit in a kid-friendly way.

PBs: I'm just dipping my toes into this genre. Of course, I do have to please the reader, but I like the shorter form and word play involved.

I don't think it has to be either or. There is originality even when you have a strict form. Think of the sonnet! (Something I have never attempted.) The wonderful thing about writing is that even when I’m writing for other people, my story will be original just because I am the one writing it. It will be colored with how I see the world. I’m always looking to get better at my craft and engage the reader more…but  writing is also fun for me too. It's an adventure, no matter what I write.

My answer: Both!

How about you? Do you write to please the reader or yourself?

*Just a note that I won’t be able to be online for much of Wednesday. I will probably be late in reading other people’s posts and returning blog visits. But know that I do treasure every comment, and reading your posts inspires me to keep going!

If you'd like to read more ISWG posts or sign up, please go HERE. You won't be disappointed.