>I’ve been pouring over the notes I took from the workshop with Erin Healy. Have I mentioned how wonderful a speaker she is? Soft spoken yet determined, able to get to the heart of the issue and ‘make it plain’? She’s a soft woman with a heart of gold I think.
Ok … enough gushing … here we go …
The best thing you can do for your noel is to write for an audience of one. That’s ONE – not one thousand, or one hundred or even one million (yes, I know that is our ultimate goal, but bear with me).
Here’s a question you need to ask yourself every time you sit down to write. How does your story demonstrate your love for your reader?
So, if you’re like me, you’re thinking … who is this mysterious reader, right? (Well, if you are published, you won’t be asking this – in fact, you shouldn’t be asking this because you should know who your reader is …).
Let’s start at the beginning. Who are you writing for? Don’t generalize it. Make it personal. Who is your reader? Is it a single women who is career focused, or is it for that housewife at home who needs a break? But then focus on that person – don’t just make them a housewife or career driven woman. What does she look like? Is she skinny, carrying around baby weight, average height, does she work out, is she healthy or is she sick? Does she wear glasses? Does she like chocolate or is she a vegan?
Here’s an idea – you know those characterizations you make for your characters (ok, I don’t .. I only recently heard about them, but if anyone does know – please fill me in)? Make one up for your reader! Brilliant idea, right!
Your reader MUST exist. They HAVE to exist. Otherwise, your writing for a general audience and it won’t work for you. You know that old saying … you can’t please them all … well it’s true with your writing. It really is.
When you sit down to write – think of it as writing a love letter – even if you are writing a thriller. If your reader loves to read a good thriller – then they will absolutely adore you for your love letter. As you write each scene, keep your reader in mind. If you have a picture of them – keep it close to your computer, or taped in your notebook. Would they like this scene?
You need to be in love with your reader for your reader to be in love with you and your novel. If you don’t, then that will be evident in every single scene you write.
So tell me … WHO is your reader? Is it your husband, your wife, your best friend, your teacher, your mentor, your favorite author, you child, your parent? Who is your reader?
(For me…my reader’s name is Sherri. She’s a mother of 3, a fantastic friend. She didn’t like my first novel. She’s not into sappy christian romances. So I wanted to write a novel that she would enjoy. She loves Jodi Picoult and loves suspense … I added a bit ‘too much’ christian stuff in my novel, but she’s not a christian so I knew this going in – but what I did add was understandable to her.)