A friend of mine who writes stream-of-consciousness type stories asked me to write a little bit about my philosophy on writing for an audience.
I could probably devote an entire book to this subject, but to spare your mind and soul, I’ll keep it brief–and in a list so you won’t suffer.
- I know who my audience is because I’m a member of that audience. I write horror and weird fiction. I am also a fan of that genre. That gives me an advantage when I write because I know what I like and I like to write it. I couldn’t write a romance novel if I tried (someone would get killed, inevitably and it would have a sad ending. Romance novels aren’t allowed to have anything but happy endings.). I am also not a fan of the romance genre, so that’s okay. In other words, don’t just write what you know, write what you love. You can’t always write what you know, anyway. A writer explores and expands their knowledge and experience in a variety of ways.
- I write stories that scare and entertain me. Because I am a fan of the horror and weird fiction genres, I write things that scare me and make me laugh. I write to have a good time. If people love it, too, then great! If they don’t, well, okay, fair enough, but at least I had fun.
- Because I’m a member of that audience, my stories entertain many people within that scope. Luckily, my fellow horror and weird fiction fans seem to enjoy my writing and are also having a good time reading my work. Because I understand my goals and myself as an audience member, some of the outer audience comes along for the ride. It’s rewarding.
- My writing is for fun, and occasional profit. I do make the occasional buck or two off of Exit 1042, and that’s great. But mostly I just enjoy getting a story out, and if others love it, then the more, the merrier. It makes me happy to know I’ve entertained someone or made them think with something I’ve written.
- My work is not for everyone. If you want to be a writer, you have to understand that you will have people who don’t like your work. They will also say really rude shit about you, too. But that’s okay. I know not everyone likes what I write, or even how I write it. I didn’t write it for them. I wrote it for me. I wrote it for myself and some of the people who will find it amusing or frightening … and that’s the key. If you write to please others, you’ll be miserable.
At this point in my life, this essentially sums up my philosophy on writing for an audience. I think that pandering is just about the worst thing an author or writer can do. So, write for yourself, and remember, not everyone is going to fall in love with your work. And that’s okay.
Now get to it.
Anne Hogue-Boucher is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She eats potato chips at lunch every day and drinks Caffix every afternoon because caffeine is her mortal enemy. Follow her weirdness on Twitter and/or on Facebook.