Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Ideal Reader
Recently I posted that there was a list of projects that I am currently working on. The first project I mentioned was to start/continue another novel.
A few years ago I started a literary novel that was going to be about a passive young women struggling to find self-confidence as she starts a new relationship.
I’ve written some literary short stories before and the last novel that I wrote was also literary.
Of the three fiction works I have gotten published, Double Take, Sweaty Palms and Faith In the Moonlight, none of these were literary but a good chunk of my work is. That said a lot to me. Maybe I’m not all that good at writing literary fiction. Or maybe publishers just aren’t interested.
On top of that I started to realize that all of my work was depressing. It makes sense because I had written most of it at a time when I was really down. The problem is that I don’t feel that way anymore. I have changed and so has the audience I write for.
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about having an “Ideal Reader.” It’s the one person that you try to please when writing your story, because you will never be able to please everyone.
I think I used to write to please myself. I wrote a lot of emotional and joyless stories so that I could sort out my life and how I was feeling.
Over the past year or so I felt differently. I’ve been writing with someone else in mind.
I still write for me. Writing is still fun and therapeutic. When I finish something the sense of accomplishment is amazing. I am still conveying the messages that I want to say and telling the story that I want to tell but when I write, I want to write it in a way that will make my Ideal Reader enjoy the story.
A literary story just isn’t the way. So I’m restarting. I can still use the stuff I’ve written but I am now adding an element to the story that will take it from literary to mystery.
Maybe I will never win the Nobel Prize in Literature with this story, but there was slim chance of that anyway. At least this way I write something that someone else will hopefully enjoy reading, even if it is just one person.