Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Audience

I once read somewhere that you should write with your audience in mind. 

Insert Audience Here
Source
This confuses me, mostly because the audience isn't real. Or, it is, but so far it's made up of one unimpressed cat who knows it's time for her dinner, and a spider hanging from a web on the ceiling that I have called Simon. 

(The spider, not the ceiling. The ceiling doesn't have its own name. That would be like naming my hair. The ceiling is an extension of my house, which is called House. I know that because that time I was leaving for work before the cyclone, I hugged an architrave and whispered, "Please be here when I get back, House. I keep all my favourite things in you. Like the dog, and the cats. And Simon." 

That bit about Simon might be a lie. I'm not really that fond of spiders and don't care if they blow away in cyclones.

Anyway.) 

Despite the books that advise it, I don't even have a hypothetical audience in mind when I write. There's no room for them in my head what with all the plot and character craziness I've got to carry. And it feels pointless at this stage of the game. If dreaming up my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature is considered jumping the gun, why isn't writing to the audience? 

I'm not setting out to alienate every human being on the planet when I write a story, but neither am I setting out to engage them. Because I'm not thinking that far ahead. Will my story suit 15-16 year old girls? Will it suit 12-14 year old boys? What about women aged 21-25? 

WHO IS MY AUDIENCE? 

(The obvious answer is: anyone who reads my story. However, this isn't an acceptable answer in marketing terms.) 

So is my story marketable? I don't know that either. I'm not writing to market demand because, firstly, I don't understand market demand, and, secondly, that seems like a waste of time. Things change fast in the world of publishing. Today's hot YA romantic zombie dystopian spec-fic paranormal is tomorrow's... um... something uncool. 

When I write I'm not thinking about audience. I'm not thinking about the market. 

I'm only thinking about telling the story that I want to tell. 

I hope the rest will follow. 

***
Do you have an audience or a market in mind when you write? 

8 comments:

  1. That's really the best way to go about it. Otherwise you're performing to please an audience instead of being like those musicians, so caught in the music, they forget the audience is there.

    Of course, after that you want to make sure it engages the reader and is clear and has vampires, but when you're getting it down, yeah, forget about everything but just that - getting it down.

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  2. This needs to go in a book of writing advice:
    you want to make sure it engages the reader and is clear and has vampires...

    So, so, SO true!

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  3. As it is, my brain can just about cope with the story plot and characters... how on earth am I supposed to think about an audience-in-the-making...?

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    1. I feel exactly the same, Michelle!

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  4. I do think about my audience a little bit. Not down to the tiniest details, but in terms of age range. For me, YA needs to be slightly different to an adult audience in terms of how the content is written. And the type of storyline it is will also affect the audience I'm aiming for in general.

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    Replies
    1. That is a great point, Miss Cole. Agr range is probably always a good thing to consider, but, then again, most of the adult I know read as much YA as anything else!

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  5. Nice article, thanks for sharing.

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