Who’s Your Target? (with commentary)

I_transp ’ve come to realize that perhaps how you know a novel is done is that either A: You’ve worked so long on it your sick of seeing it. {I reach this particular feeling about every six months or so with any given story.} Or B: You have to walk away. Eventually, we as authors have to realize that the only way we’re ever going to get readers and let people into our world is by letting go of it. {I apologize if that song is in your head now}days_Fri

It’s a lot like being set adrift without a paddle, or that age old nightmare of being naked in front of your entire school. {Is that a real nightmare, because I’ve never actually had it that I recall}. You can often feel exposed like everyone’s watching you when you finally let your work be seen and I suspect this is to an extent true, traditionally published or not. You’re suddenly no longer protected from judgement because now it’s not just whatever you think about your book it’s other people’s thoughts. {This is especially true in the age of social media.} Sure you can imagine what so and so would say about it, but until you actually hear it come out of their mouths (good or bad) it’s not the same is it?

And it’s hard leaving this sort of cocoon of safety that we writers tend to build for ourselves, sure we like to set fire to it from time to time, {or religiously, though if I’m honest I’m sort of lost on my own metaphor here} but it’s only when other people set fire to it that we really start worry. We can handle whatever we think, most of the time, because we’re used to hearing that obnoxious voice that says: What are you thinking? This is terrible! Are you trying to best Fifty Shades for worst book ever written? I personally have never heard that last one, thankfully, I merely added it in the hopes of making people laugh, {girl try to sound less thirsty} but you get my point.

We as writers learn to live with that little voice that says we can’t do it. And sometimes we learn to ignore it or even to tell it to fuck off. But whether we acknowledge it or not, there is still the worry of what other people will think. Because when that voice isn’t asking who do we think we are. It’s asking: Who would ever want to read this? To be fair, this is the one valid question that particular self loathing part of us asks. It’s an important question. Knowing who our target audience is, is key, there are certain expectations to consider for each type of writing. Even erotica has protocol. There’s a certain formula to all types of writing and rules you have to think about. As I’ve said before, in one of my favorite posts, Breaking All the Rules. {which I’m not going to search for thank you very much} Every rule has exceptions, the key is knowing what the rule is first. Then deciding why you should or shouldn’t follow it. You don’t just jump into sex right off the bat in erotica. {that’s what you think} You build up to it. {Is that a foreplay joke?} You don’t start a horror with everything happening all at once. {also an opinion that may not be accurate} You build up to it. Almost all writing is about build up (the exception perhaps, being literary fiction). All events build up to the final clash (or climax as it’s taught in most English classes) {was that a necessary aside to use the word climax after we just discussed erotica? SMH} and then the fall back down to earth from the excitement of that. {or not… anti-climactic} Of course some books, if they’re a series especially, have several climatic {really again with this word?} events that lead to the ultimate clash at the end of the series. The point is, a book wouldn’t be very interesting if all the action happened up front and the rest of the book was just, cleaning up the mess. It’s fine for a movie to start in the middle of some car chase, but it’s rather difficult for a book to do the same.*

*Update: 5/13- I actually don’t know if I still agree with this. A book can very much start in the middle just like any other story, the key is deciding if that’s the right way to proceed with the story you’re working on. It isn’t right for every book. 

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