1. Florent150
    Offline

    Florent150 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    York

    Defining the target age group

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Florent150, May 23, 2011.

    I've been doing thinking lately about exactly how different books appeal to different age groups. I've been working on an epic futuristic-fantasy for a while now, but I'm not really sure about how age groups respond.

    For example, who does Lord of the Rings "target?" When I think LOTR, I can imagine most people are willing to experience the story; an important point, in that adults seem totally cool with the idea of reading it, and children don't usually find it too scary or boring. I was wondering, is fantasy something which might be a turn off to adults? I don't know why, but I keep getting this feeling that fantasy might be turned up by adults in favour of more "sophisticated" novels, techno-thrillers etc. I know there are people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading Harry Potter, and somehow I wouldn't be surprised if that applied to other fantasy as well (although I know HP was for children).

    I tend to see two parameters about a book that might influence who would read it: the first being the actual story itself, and the second being the way it's written; in theory I'd expect even young children would enjoy LOTR, but LOTR is written in a way that probably makes it challenging and something people might only start being able to read into their mid-teens.

    When I started with this story, I wanted it, in terms of story, to have that LOTR factor of being readable by just about anybody, but I also wanted the writing to be more accessible too; flowing and delightful enough that children perhaps 9 or older could read it without being overwhelmed/bored, but not being patronizing and still containing themes, dialogue and complex/interesting plots that adults would be able to appreciate.

    I was wondering if people think it's actually possible to create a book that is essentially readable by all? Or is it inevitable that improving the book for older/more intelligent readers will diminish it for young/perhaps less sophisticated readers? And yes, is Fantasy still strong among adults, or is it becoming a YA, late-teens type thing?

    Thanks ;)
     
  2. StrangerWithNoName
    Offline

    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    the waste lands, somewhere in Europe
    LOTR is a classic, a book of reputation, therefore nobody will be embrassed to confess to have read it. Another story is Fantasy, that is usually considered a "childish" genre by a lot of people, even in the literature world, not without a reason because most ot these books are clearly aiming at early teenagers, you rarely find sex, violence, horror, strong images, politics, in short "adult" contents, that's the way it is.

    It would be interesting to write more mature fantasy to break the stereotypes of the genre but I don't know if the market could accept that, the target reader's age at the moment is about 13-14, judging from Dragonlance novels, of course, you can't write the "universal book" because every reader has his own preference so matter what you do, you won't reach the entire market.
     
  3. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I don't think it is possible to write a book that everyone will enjoy if you start off with that intention. Trying to make a novel broad enough for everyone to enjoy reading will limit your creativity with the story.

    In my experience, sometimes the people you think you're targeting your story towards are the wrong audience. Eg: I spent summer 2009 writing short romances with the target audience of teenage girls (16-18) but found that the majority of the readers were in their mid-to-late twenties.

    Fantasy is one of those genres which is so broad that it will always be popular with people of all ages. Personally, I dislike it, but my parents and their friends are among the biggest fantasy fans I've met. Paranormal romance might be geared more towards the YA crowd but I've found most fans of epic/high fantasy tend to be older.

    For the record, I haven't read LotR and I don't intend to.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
    Offline

    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    the waste lands, somewhere in Europe
    Why not?
     
  5. kirp1234
    Offline

    kirp1234 New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    TX
    Creating a book for all would be very rough, I would stick to a target audience. Something I'm comfortable with and writing about.
     
  6. Jessica_312
    Offline

    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Florida
    Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, Harry Potter - these are all fantasy or sci fi stories that are marketed as being Young Adult. However, though these books are wildly popular among the YA age group, I would venture to say that an equal number of adults (20s, 30s, and even older) enjoy those books, as well (me being one of them). I think the benefit of marketing to YA is that is has a broader appeal - if you create a novel with a lot of graphic violence, sex, language, etc, the adult audience may enjoy it, but that alienates you from the younger audience. Not to say adult novels can't sell well, because they do (ala Charlaine Harris, Stephen King, etc), but just something to keep in mind.
     
  7. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    Nothing has made me want to read the books or watch the films. I dislike fantasy; everything I read is set in the real world with normal, everyday characters.
     

Share This Page