Writers have things that really excite them. Readers have things that really excite them. The trick is connecting the two, because in real terms the two are only intermittently the same. Furinstance, the thing that really makes me want to write is creating a cool new world and bringing people there. Of course, there’s no market for writing travelogues for places that don’t exist. So, I need to make sure that I find some way of connecting my passion to my readers, because no readers means no sales which means having to find something else to do. That means telling a really cool story that’d peopled with characters that my readers want to spend time with. And that’s more or less the order in which a story goes together for me:
World and all the cool stuff.
Story that shows off said world.
Characters that are appropriate to the world.
But that’s only one of 1001 and one ways to do it, all equally correct, and all of which have to have some way of addressing and engaging the reader. So, I’m wondering, how y’all handle that interface. In On Writing Stephen King talks about having his target reader (I think it was Muneraven who brought this up at Marscon, but I’m terrible at remembering that sort of thing, so if was someone else, please leap forward and take credit). I don’t have a specific target reader other than myself. I try to write a story that I would really want to read. Others will have other systems, including (I presume) pretending that there is no audience, because the thought of actual readers is paralyzing for some while they’re working.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog March 5 2007, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)