1. ziggykinsella
    Offline

    ziggykinsella New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Manchester

    Trusting your writers voice?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ziggykinsella, Jun 24, 2010.

    It seems to me there are two kinds of writers: Those who want to write what they want and to hell with the audience and those who want to write for an audience...

    The question is this: Which is the most important?

    I spent a lot of time trying to write for an audience, taking their wants and desires into consideration. But the I have recently begun to think that this is not the true essence of a writer. They drag the stuff from deep within them and put it onto a page. The audience, unless you are trying to write an international bestseller, has no say in what comes out.

    The problem is that writers who write for themselves, selfishly and blindly, tend to exit this world as poor and confused as when they entered it...
     
  2. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    In my eyes they are both important.

    You seem to be looking at it in a different way than me; I write - and try not to be boring.
     
  3. w176
    Offline

    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    LuleƄ, Sweden
    Well I think there are writers that write for the very own special mix of thousands of reasons, and there is a number of traps for all those reasons. I think all reasons can be good reasons, be bad reasons if you let them affect your writing or you life that way.

    Writing for the audience can be looooads of different reasons; To gain approval, because you love children, because you want to share your view of the world, because you want to prove yourself, because you want to make the world a better place, because you want pity etc.

    We could do the same for writing for yourself to: because you like writing, because it is a form of therapy, because you want escapism, because you want to prove yourself to you self, because you admire writers... On and on.

    We could come up loads of things that fall in to both or neither category: Because the only thing you are good at, because you need money, because that is what your family want you to do, because the truth need to be told....

    I think it more helpful to identify the myriad of reasons you write, how them can help you and what traps they pose.
     
  4. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    It depends on what kind of writings you are referring to.

    For writers who write for magazines, newspapers, commercials, movies etc they have to keep the audience in mind at all time.

    As for writing whatever the writer wants, there will surely be audience IF the writer has the ability to express his thoughts/ideas into words.

    I think one should write whatever one is comfortable writing (and reading) even when writing for a particular audience. As I said the key is the ability to express thoughts/ideas into words with literary values, because that is what separates writers from others.
     
  5. theSkaBoss
    Offline

    theSkaBoss Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    I've always thought of it as a delicate balance. If you write 100% for an audience, then ONLY that audience, and certainly not even that whole audience, will read it while you yourself do not like it. If you write 100% for yourself, then ONLY you will read it, with the possibility of getting a few readers who are in the audience that likes exactly that kind of thing. If you provide a mix of the two, maybe add in some other factors as well, you'll end writing for you as much as you need, as well as for the audience, and it may even leak into other audiences as well.

    It all depends on what you feel you want to accomplish, really. Are you writing to satisfy the world's need for storytelling? Are you writing to solve your own complex problems in your head? Are you writing to get rich? Are you writing to teach? Such factors determine what your true audience is, and thus answers the question of how much you should write for you vs. for someone else.
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,107
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Quite the choice, aye?

    Successful sell-out or tortured soul destined for posthumous recognition.

    Is there no room in the middle?
     
  7. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    I think there has to be, Wrey. All writers have their own line in the sand, the point which they will not cross and compromise their personal pride in their work. It's obviously different for everybody, but I think for the majority of people, it would be somwhere in the middle.
     
  8. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,107
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Precisely my point. ;)

    I think that in the beginning of our writing lives we get caught up with the two extremes. We become passionate about ourselves as artist of the word, and become suspicious of those who seem to have knelt at the altar of Mammon. Like any conversation on any subject, the far left and the far right attract the most attention and the vast swath in the middle garners little attention because though it comprises the majority, this majority is a quiet one. Not so vociferous as the two ends.
     
  9. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    I think that applies to all things, Wrey, not simply writing. The extremes are always more exciting than the moderate majority- hence why groups such as the BNP get so much attention.
     
  10. Switch
    Offline

    Switch Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't think writing would be any good were it written for an audience, it would just become boring and forced, however, the plot, yes, may well need to be written for an audience.
    When I write a story, I attempt to create a plot that I think will appeal to the majority of modern people and then add my own twist to it, and follow the basic plot as well as I can with added, never before seen tit bits.
    I think it is a good idea to try and form a balance, and I think forming an appealing plot and then writing it how you think is best is the best way.
     
  11. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    neither is 'most important' for everyone... what's most important depends on what each writer wants...
     
  12. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    I agree with Maia.

    Are you aiming to please the audience? Do you want to test your luck and see if you can make it? Or do you want to write for yourself, however one describes it, without any material rewards? You choose.
     
  13. Taylor3
    Offline

    Taylor3 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it's good to learn to write for an audience because it will only make you a better writer. There is no harm in writing something that others enjoy. Once you master that, then you can write what you want.

    I think if you strive to become a great writer, learning to write for an audience is crucial. If you convince yourself that you only want to write for yourself, then chances are you are keeping yourself in a box, and not developing as much as you could.

    It isn't easy to write for an audience, and people who scoff at big entertainment writing should maybe give it a try, just so they can recognize how difficult it is. Then maybe they wouldn't scoff so much.
     
  14. Irish87
    Offline

    Irish87 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    Myself.

    I'm sure there is a lot of philosophical reasoning behind which I should choose or perhaps choose neither at all. Yet, at the end of the day, when I am sitting in front of my monitor and reading every word, I want to make myself happy. Is it selfish? Yeah, but I don't write for YOU, I write because it makes ME happy. If I were writing for anyone else, I would start a series of vampire novels. Immediately this would draw the ire of the cynics who would pass it off as a Twilight rip off. I would cure this by changing the characters, making entirely different plot choices all the while staying in the realm of tween obsessions, and be absolutely miserable the entire time.

    Perhaps I am simply inept at being a proper writer, but why would I ever write for an audience? It just doesn't make sense to me. Would I also give my paycheck to somebody else? I worked hard to earn that money, just as I worked hard to write that story. If being a writer is nothing more than being published and famous, then I think we as a community have a larger problem on our hands. Oh well, this wouldn't be the first time I've been proven wrong.
     
  15. Saffron
    Offline

    Saffron Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm in the middle, I guess, leaning a bit more towards writing for me. My setting and characters are all created to please me and me alone - I come up with people and places I'd love to read about. For example, I've always been a huge fan of monsters and fantastical creatures. Thus, the fantasy novel I'm working on is set in a land plagued by nasty beasties. :)

    I do think about audience a lot when it comes to plot, though. I'd be quite happy just writing the history of my world, choosing various important figures and chronicling their lives Tolkien-style, but I know that wouldn't be publishable. So I try to look at things from another reader's perspective and come up with an exciting and original story - this is the definitely the hardest part for me.

    I do write for myself, but it's my ambition to get published - and that won't happen unless I take audience into account.
     
  16. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    ----------------------
     
  17. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    In a general sense, I have the audience in mind when I write. How would I define the difference between good and bad storytelling, between clear and unclear writing, if not by how a (hypothetical) audience would perceive it? I can't use my own perception as a yardstick. For example, nothing in the story is unclear to me, because I already know what happens in it.

    I would not, however, change the subject of my story to please the audience. I write about what I think is important or interesting.

    That being said, I don't think there is anything wrong with writing purely to entertain people. It's no less an honorable job than raising livestock or repairing cars.
     
  18. Shinn
    Offline

    Shinn Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Myself. And I hope that the audience will become attached my characters, and the audience will also be attached to the overall plot
     
  19. Leaka
    Offline

    Leaka Creative Mettle

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    5,825
    Likes Received:
    36
    I write in the middle. I write for myself. However, what I like myself I do hope an audience likes as well. My writing is usually written for those who have read a lot of books in their life time. And now, like me, are searching for great books that captivate their imaginations. That they cannot predict what I write.

    I don't think you could ever be a writer just writing for an audience. Because sometimes the audience wants to much.
     
  20. MedleyMisty
    Offline

    MedleyMisty Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I write for myself.

    And yet, somehow, I have found an audience. :)

    How does one write for an audience, and why wouldn't other people want to read what you write for yourself? I'm not sure I understand the dichotomy here.

    I don't know, I mean - I love my clicks and comments. Love them. I am addicted to my narcissistic supply, I admit. So is that writing for an audience -trying to update somewhat regularly to keep your stats page from becoming totally depressing?

    But what's in the updates, what keeps the clicks and comments coming, is what I want to write. I like writing about messed up crazy characters. I like writing emo angsty tragedies. I like violence and drama and the villain outlined against the moon as he proclaims his first sentence.

    And I guess I'm pretty lucky, because other people seem to like it too.
     
  21. Norm
    Offline

    Norm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Michigan
    Write something interesting, worry about technical writing skills after you have a first draft.
     
  22. Paul
    Offline

    Paul New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Spring Hill, FL
    Whether you write fiction or non-fiction your model is still the same. You are there to take the reader on an emotional trip that they would not experience on their own. Try outlining your work in an emotional context instead of who does what, who overcomes what, etc. This can be practiced by looking at what you have read and watched on television. Outline those works in this point of view and you will find that they all have a pattern of this, whether or not you like the pattern, it is still there.

    Unique monsters, perfect characters, special powers, etc. are all nice as long as they support this. Frodo, Arthur Dent, and Thomas Covenant, were all very human. They had weaknesses, no usable special powers, and struggled with the same emotional events that we do. This is why they are engaging to read.

    Conversely Jim DiGriz's character in Harrison's books was less interesting to me because you always knew he would come out on top no matter what happened to him at any particular time. A different writing style and emotional adventure. Still enjoyable though because it was comfortably predictable.

    For the reader your words provide an emotional journey that they would not take themselves. Stay focused on what your character's feelings are and explore those enough that your reader can identify and be in step with them. Then take them on the ride.
     

Share This Page