The secrets of good writing have been debated again and again and again by writers throughout the blogosphere. One writer says “never use adjectives” and another writer says “adjectives aplenty.” Some writers say “show, never tell” while others argue that both, when used moderately, are fine. But “good writing” according to other writers might be the wrong target to aim for. After all, are other writers going to be reading your book? Maybe yes. Maybe no. So would it really benefit you to write your novel for them?
Who the heck are you writing for?
You’re not writing this book for yourself, or so says a large handful of so-called experts in the field. So don’t write the kind of story you would want to read–that is, unless you plan on being the only person who reads it besides your sister. **cough, cough**
So who the heck are you writing this novel for anyway? The answer is painfully clear–readers! Duh! You, know readers? People who pick up books for fun. Insert one of my favorite strips of dialogue from You’ve Got Mail:
Nelson Fox: Perfect. Keep those West-Side liberal nuts, psudo-intellectuals . . .
Joe Fox: Readers, Dad. They’re called readrs.
Nelson Fox: Don’t do that, son. Don’t romanticize them.
Seriously, don’t romanticize them!
Next question, how do you know what readers want?
There is no simple answer to this question, because the answer varies from person to person. Factors such as gender, age, social status, etc., will also influence what a reader likes or doesn’t like.
Keep in mind, you’re not writing for one particular reader. That would be just as self-defeating as writing for yourself. Try to write a novel that appeals to a broad–yet specific–type of reader.
Find out who you’re target audience is and aim to write a novel they will enjoy. If you don’t know what they want in a book, find out. Hunt them out on reader blogs or in small groups. Create polls, questionnaires, conduct interviews, whatever you need to do to find out what it is they enjoy.
Or just get on Goodreads and/or Amazon and read the reviews. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of readers on there who are nothing shy of brutally honest when it comes to why they did or did not like a book.
Learn from the success and failings of others.
Consider paying attention to those who are successful and not successful in your particular genre. Knowing what works as well as what doesn’t work is crucial to your success.
Anther thing to keep in mind, If you write YA urban fiction, the critiques of an adult Christian fiction book are not going to be helpful to you. Just saying.
In general, all readers enjoy good writing–writing that is clear, energetic, and free of errors. Most importantly, readers enjoy writing that makes things happen clearly and vividly in their minds. It goes beyond grammatically correct, well-structured sentences, to an overall experience. Give readers that and they will love your books!
Hope you enjoyed my insight. Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment below. I always enjoy your feedback.