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Write for a Reader

The writing advice is to write with a reader in mind. The assumption is that the writer thinks up an audience before starting to write, so they are telling to story to someone specific. As the writer puts words on page, they are telling the story to this imaginary audience sitting across the desk from them. One author was using voice to text software and using it as part of his writing process to the point of not wanting to upgrade for fear the voice would change causing his audience to change.

When I write I don’t write to a specific audience, because I am just a channel for the character to tell me the story. I become the reader who I am writing for. The story is one I want to read, though at times the character goes off to places I am not sure about it. Usually by the time I reach the end of the story, I understand why they went where they did and it works for the story.

There are some of my stories where my only reason for writing it down was for my own entertainment. My western, Chenarcor, was me following the characters around and writing down what they did for my own enjoyment. Turns out that other people have enjoyed it as well, so it seems to be a good way for me to write. Other people do need that audience they are talking to when they write, which is okay as no one way works for everyone.


Literary Merit

Many of the people I meet and have discussed writing with assume that I must write stories with literary merit. I’m not sure why they assume thing, but they do. To me literary merit involves symbolism, the literary devices learned about in English courses, and writing to hold a mirror up to society. This usually results in stories that make a person wonder what the character is living for. These stories are depressing and the author seems to want the reader to question why they would want to live. Also known as the great Canadian novel.

I don’t write those. I don’t usually like reading those, though occasionally I find one worth the read. The stories I write are not meant to have literary merit. If there is any in them it happened by mistake or accident. I accept that other writers add these things in deliberately, however I don’t see why they should assume I do as well.

I write solely for entertainment, whether it be mine or the reader’s. If you read my work and were entertained, I consider my job done. I don’t need to add in any underlying messages or deep life philosophies. With all the books out there that have literary merit, I don’t think mine need it.

So, if you’re a writer and you are talking to another writer, don’t assume they write poetic prose with literary merit unless they have said so or you have read it written by them. And if you are reading something I’ve written, I hope you were entertained.