Writing for Your Audience

I always start out writing for myself, usually as a type of therapy to get me through a hard situation, or if something happened in my life that would be awesome if it was fictionalized. Eventually, as I go through many different drafts, the story begins to change form and hopefully gets better. Then I remember that if I want to get it published some day, I have to write not only for myself, but for an audience of potential readers.

Chances are, if there’s something in the story you think is cool, someone else, somewhere, will think it’s cool too. But just be sure you don’t load your story down with too many obscure references that only you and a select group of others understand. If you’re writing a fantasy novel, be sure to explain the “rules” and the magic to your readers. A story is a kind of gift that you’re giving to someone else: that they may learn from it, enjoy it, and pass it on to their friends.

You can always write stories for yourself that are kept in the privacy of your hard drive or your desk drawer. But if you’re going to submit them for publication, let others read them and determine how you can better make your story more accessible to an audience. After all, it’s excellent when someone wants to pay to read your work.

10 thoughts on “Writing for Your Audience

  1. “But just be sure you don’t load your story down with too many obscure references that only you and a select group of others understand.”

    This is so true and it’s so easy to fall into that trap if you’re not aware of it. I took a writing course a few years ago that emphasized this and my instructor was able to point out areas that I hadn’t even realized I was doing it. You’re exactly right: if you’re looking to be more publishable it is definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks for the reminder Maggie!


  2. Pay? To read my work? You mean I can stop sending it to agents for free? Someday…sigh…

    I’ve been writing for young adults, mostly, so I have to think of my audience from the very beginning.


  3. I’ve been thinking about this in a slightly different way. I’m thinking of my readers by working to keep my current project (“Stevie One”) lean and mean (or at least lean 🙂 ) I really like U-town (my second novel), and so have the other people who have read it, but it’s 170,000 words long, so a lot of people don’t even give it a try. I like having readers, so I’m watching that word count more than I used to.


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