1. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    Genre and audience

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Balmarog, Jun 23, 2011.

    A quick question that's been bothering me lately - When you start writing a story, whether it's a novel or short story, do you think much about the intended audience or even the genre? I have an idea in my head, but I don't know if I should pick a target audience before I really get into developing it or if I should just go for it and figure it out later.
    Any thoughts or comments?
     
  2. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I'm glad you asked this question and I'm curious to see what people say. I didn't think about the audience when I wrote my first novel. I just wrote the story. Later everyone kept asking me what market I was aiming for and I just had to shrug my shoulder.

    I guess I've fine tuned the novel because now when people read some of the book they know right away that it's YA.
     
  3. ImaginaryRobot
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    ImaginaryRobot Member

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    Thinking about your audience beforehand is very important if you're considering writing anything for children/adolescents. You should go into it thinking about whether you want to write for YA, MG, etc. Each age range has different requirements.

    Other than that audience is important, but don't get too bogged down in it. And a lot of it depends on what genre (if any) you're writing. Romance - you have to think about writing for a primarily female audience. Sci-fi or fantasy - the audience has certain expectations depending on the sub-genre you're aiming for.

    Thinking about an audience or a genre can be helpful in trying to focus your story.

    In all cases, though, you need to weigh originality against convention. Stray too far away from expected conventions and you may write an artistic piece of work that will be remembered as groundbreaking, but while you're alive very few people will probably read it (and of course sometimes people who think they're being artistic are just being confusing or obtuse). Stick too close to convention and your work will be stale and cliche. Like everything in writing, it's about finding a balance that works for you and allows your creativity to flourish.
     
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  4. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write what you want to write. Write as your heart and inclinations dictate.

    You, or someone else, just might get to worry about that other trivial stuff at a later date.
     
  5. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    Fair enough.
    I would personally lean more in this direction and just allow the story to be its own entity.
     
  6. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, the story is everything. It doesn't matter what category, target audience, age rating or anything like that the publishers want to give it. If you think about it, would you change your story to make it fit in a category that sells a bit better if you knew it would make the story worse? I wouldn't. I write the best story possible, thn deal with the publishing details.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've interviewed different authors and asked them about this topic (ones published by major publishers). It runs the spectrum. Some take into consideration their audience a lot, others not so much, but more seem to consider audience when writing. They want their work to be enjoyed and also sell.

    Me, I know the genre I write in and I have an idea of who would like it, but I write the story that I would like to see on the shelf (if I hadn't written it), so it's a balance.
     
  8. ImaginaryRobot
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    I agree with this if you're just writing for yourself or simply to improve.

    If you're writing with publication in mind, though, I have to disagree. In my experience authors who have given their audience some thought (as well as put thought into other "non-artistic" aspects of their work) submit manuscripts that need far less work. For a first time author these "trivial details" can mean the difference between a form rejection and an agent/editor willing to take them on. The publishing market operates on razor thin margins and new (and sometimes even veteran) authors who don't take into account the practical, business side of publishing are far less likely to break into the market.

    So I guess it depends on where you are as a writer.

    When you get to be a household name, then you can write whatever the heck you want and screw all the rules.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!... in toto...
     
  10. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I agree that you shouldn't get too wrapped up about it. If you only worried about that, how will you finish your story? I think it's better that you first get a draft or two or three or your story done - then, if you really need to, think about the genre and the audience and adjust your story to fit it (but don't forcefully adjust your story!). Even so, I personally don't feel it's that important. The story itself is important. After all, genre definitions can be vague and overlap easily, so, yeah.
     
  11. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I don't really think about the audience. I write to write and what I write is first and foremost for me.
     

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