Why it’s important to think about your readers

Maybe it seems a little weird to point out that writers should think about their readers… but I’ve seen enough stories dotted around the internet to know it needs to be said.

banner why it's important to think about your readers, image of people stood reading

 

Okay, let’s step back one second – if you are writing for the sheer love of writing and care only about entertaining yourself and never showing your work to anyone ever, great. You don’t need to consider the reader (because you already know “you”, right?)

However if your writing will actually be released from the death grip you hold it in and be sent out into the world to be published, to be read… then you do need to think about those people who will be your readers.

Write what you love

This piece of advice comes up all the time and it’s pretty valid.  You should enjoy what you write.

You should write the book you want to read… but not just you.  If you want to be published, then you need to make sure there is at least something in your book that others will like too.

Of course, there will be people like you, but you still need to take that step outside your head and consider other readers.  Even just a little.

I find this a lot with stories people ask me to read – usually, it’s fan-fiction and often it contains more sex scenes than an erotic novel.

If you are going to do that, then at least mark it as an erotic story – because 9 times out of 10 there is no real plot and just a lot of sex… which honestly, is pretty tiresome to read. (unless you’re into erotica that is).

(I must confess I’m not a fan of fan-fiction – I actually prefer people to come up with their own ideas, their own characters and plots. 

I think people who get caught writing a lot of fan-fiction can become so limited that they don’t open up to the possibility of being better writers. But that’s a topic for another time…)

Image: Line of people in a library reading books

Know your readers

You will probably get a feel of what your reader will be like.  What age range, what fan style you will get.

If you are writing young adult books then you will know that while you might get younger and older people liking it, your majority readers will be in that “young adult” bracket.

So make sure it is appropriate for them. Don’t start writing something for teenagers and then go off the deep end and fling in X-rated sex and overly excessive violence.  (yes I have seen that happen!)

Your readers will not be prepared for it and most likely it will completely mess up the overall flow and style of the book.

Stick to the Script

I’ve mentioned this before (probably a few times) but heck let’s trot it out again… thinking about the reader is important but a reader should NOT dictate your writing.

I’ve read books where characters change so much or end up romantically with so many different people throughout a series, it feels as if the author was trying to appease all the different fans.

Is that actually happening?  I hope not.  But it does make for strange reading when characters are bouncing around with everyone or there is the inevitable (and often boring) “love triangle” (I hate those) that the author will throw a character into.

Don’t get me wrong if the plot is heading that way anyway and the character IS the sort of character to be romantically or physically entangled with everyone in sight, then fine. But often that’s not the case.

Loneliness

I read somewhere how many books share a common theme that is identified with by people: the sense of companionship in stories.

We live in a world with enough technology to talk to people across the oceans in different languages and yet we are becoming lonelier than ever.

It is one of the reasons that books with groups of friends or fellowships of strangers do so well.  It is that idea of people coming together to overcome an obstacle or complete a quest.  The building of bonds and friendships even through hardship and grief.

I even did it myself, I went through my favourite books and realised that they almost all had a group of people, often those who didn’t know each other at the beginning coming together.

They formed a family and supported each other. There were loss and betrayal but overall there were individuals who joined forces.

The Worlds we Build

This is a powerful message and should not be ignored.  It is one of the reasons people like to identify with characters.  It is why fans will contact authors and state how devastated they feel that the novel series is over.

It is why readers will become so invested in the story that they can get physically saddened or elated when things happen.

A good book can draw you back again and again.  You can re-enter that world and feel like you’ve come home.  That you are seeing people you love again.

Beta Readers

I guess this is where beta readers come in – these are people who can read through your manuscript and give you their thoughts.  Having betas can give you suggestions on how the writing is going and whether other people would find it appealing.

This is just a few things to think about when you write.

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Hope you enjoyed this post.

If you did, consider following this blog.  I upload new posts on Fridays (mostly) usually around 18:30 GMT.

Got an idea for a tutorial you want to see or have a writing question?  Drop me a comment. 🙂

Happy writing

Ari

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4 thoughts on “Why it’s important to think about your readers

  1. Pingback: How to write realistic Sex Scenes (pt.1) | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  2. Pingback: Why You Need To Know Your Audience | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  3. Pingback: 9 important things new writers should be doing now | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  4. Pingback: When is a writer, not just a writer? | The official site of Ari Meghlen

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