I have been discussing writing with some friends of mine and we seem split on the issue of who we write for. We all agree that writing needs to be in some part for the audience, but how much? In a speech, an author I admire talks about how writing should be a gift for the audience (without pandering) and how once he releases a book, it is no longer his - it belongs to the people. He doesn't feel a right to answers questions about what happens between the scenes or clarify unless the audience makes an error in judging his intention when writing. He says that writing is like a template for the readers' imaginations, that writing for yourself will make your work poor. Now, he is a favorite of mine, but some of I friends and I disagree. I understand how fandom works and wanting to give an audience that feeling of ownership, but it's my story, too. I want to write things that I think are cool are smart, regardless of whether or not everyone will like it. I want to answer questions about what went on behind the scenes with my characters - I feel like I should have the authority to do so. Yes, I want the audience to have a good time reading it and go to great lengths to make it entertaining, sure. But at the core, I write for me, because it's something I have to do. Because I'll go crazy and my head will burst if I don't. I can't let my head get overwhelmed with ideas, and I refuse to forget them either. Therefore, I write. Writing for me started out as a way to record my dreams. I often go into detail and leave little little up to the imagination - it's a force of habit. I shy away from the vague 'template' approach and the idea that a good story, character, or location might be seen differently in the eyes of different readers. I want people to see what I saw in my head. I write both to record what I imagine, and to share it. And I don't believe that will necessarily make the writing bad. So what do you think? Should you just write what you want and not care what people think? Should you make your writing a gift for the audience? Or should you specifically write about what you think the audience wants to read? Where is the balance?