Thursday, April 24, 2008

Know your audience

The other thing is audience.

It can help to know who writing your writing for. Pen on Fire began with an audience of one. My student Robin. A lot of you know this story. She would become inspired in class but at home her motivation to write fizzled. She jokingly said, If you came home with me, I know I could write.

I said, I'll write a book for you.

Pen on Fire started with my audience of Robin. Soon it spread to include all of my students and others.

Who are you writing for? It could be yourself. But it has to be someone.


Nicholas Borelli said...

I write for those who would never (like most of us) take revenge, but are perfectly happy with vicarious revenge. Like my protagonist who is defending a president charged with treason. When he's the only one who recognizes the arcane incriminating evidence, he hands it over to the prosecutor (who happens to be his lover). Like my logline says, "What's a lawyer to do: Defend his client or defend his country?"

It's great to take vicarious revenge on a corrupt politician.



Jim Murdoch said...

You have to write for yourself. It's like giving up smoking, you really can't do it to make other people happy, you need to want to do it for yourself. The danger in writing for others is that you can stagnate as an artist. One day Bob Dylan picked up an electric guitar and a lot of his fans hit the roof (that was a fun image) and why? Because he was doing HIS thing. He'd ceased to be the Bob Dylan THEY though he should be. The thing is, he lost some fans and he gained some fans. The same happened with Woody Allen when he made Interiors. The fans threw up their arms in disbelief.

There's always risk involved in producing material for yourself. It's a gamble but frankly I wouldn't know how to write for a "market". I sit down to write. Sometimes words come, sometimes not, but if I'm not surprised in some way by what I find on that bit of paper when I'm done then what is the point?