"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

6/25/08

My audience

I had a dear, wise friend ask me a question the other day. I had asked her to read over my introduction and give me some "red ink." Now, I had an ulterior motive in asking this particular person. Firstly, she is an AMAZING writer, and is wonderful about giving positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. The OTHER reason is that, like me, she has been through a life-changing trial herself, and I definitely wanted the perspective of someone who had "been there."

Well, her "red ink" comments were absolutely helpful and incredibly insightful - she helped me see where some of my writing was falling into "Christianese" and triteness and "the usual."

But she also asked me who my audience was. She mentioned that, if she had been reading my introduction when she was at the beginning of her trial, that's she'd probably have tossed it aside, because she had "heard it all before," and because it might have made her feel the book would trivialize the difficulties she was going through.

I do NOT want to do that. I am writing this book to help those who will go through trials have the right mindset when the difficulties come; those who have gone through them to see the blessings they may have missed; AND for those in the midst to help see God's hope to hold onto and get them through. It would also be nice if it could be a testimony to the unbeliever of the power of my God.

But - can I do all this - in one book? Is my audience too broad? Can I write a book that reaches all these people without alienating or insulting the pain of the current sufferer? Perhaps I need to pick a couple of those "audiences" to focus on. Or maybe I should just WRITE the silly thing, as God leads, and worry about polishing for audience later. (and maybe I should WRITE the silly thing INSTEAD OF this blog ;))

That said, I have made a BIT of progress on chapter 1 - but it's much harder to work on the book than, say, this blog or other "minor" writing stuff with the kids under foot. Haven't had that "alone time" I was hoping for this week thus far, but I might tomorrow morning.

Hope so!

9 comments:

  1. I can breathe again! lolz. Sorry, I couldn't resist, but I'm glad to know that the dust isn't collecting on your keyboard. ^_^
    It sounds like a good start-some honest feedback and some questions to think about. Really think about your audience, maybe picture a few people in particular and see if you can 'aim' for them. Maybe that will bring across the depth you're hoping for. *grin*

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  2. I'd be happy to be someone you bounce ideas off of, Jo. Praying that you get good, uninterrupted time to work during the week. Love you, Girlfriend:)

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  3. Interesting thoughts. Sounds like you're doing your research. Until then, I'm going to pretend that I'm sitting right across from you in your living room or in a Bible study, soaking up your testimony. Is that okay?

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  4. I've seen this advice quite a few times. It's not easy to answer, but I agree that it is important.
    I know you can do it. You're a good writer...no a GREAT writer

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  5. You know your objectives, Jo, and that's so important! As you WRITE (LoL) maybe you'll see or feel a trend or direction to 'specialize' toward. It's so good to see you working on it!

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  6. When I wrote my first bible study a lot of the struggle was getting caught up in over-thinking things. I found that when I got before the Lord each morning and spoke my heart, He would press upon me what words needed to be written down...and what could be tossed! lol. : )

    Thinking of you as you write....

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  7. I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOU NOW, TOO!!!

    My husband is saved and so are his parents. : ) It is a beautiful thing when the chosen of God find themselves at the feet of Christ.

    I'd love to hear your story.

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  8. Jo, I'm so proud of you. You decide to do something, and BAM! it's done.

    I love your new blog and pray God's richest blessings on your writing. Love, Verna

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  9. For me, the hardest part of writing is pinpointing my audience. With the writing challenge, I don't worry too much about it, because I know who the majority of my audience is on FaithWriters. Whether you just write and think about audience later or narrow your audience down now, I just hope and pray that the book gets written. God can use your words to speak to many different audiences.

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