Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Writing with Specific Readers in Mind
Though she loved the book she turned it down. As a bit of friendship had developed between us she explained to me that there was a major disconnect between the theme (fairyland) and my writing style. Though I had chosen a topic that would interest younger readers, I had chosen to write in a style that was more suitable for older readers. This juxtaposition did not help the book at all.
Actually at that point ( nearly eight years back) I was clueless about which age group I wanted to write for. I just wrote and wrote and hoped that my work would fit somewhere. Unfortunately it didnt.
That incident made me a little wiser. I realized that before starting any WIP, I had to get a few things sorted.
1. The first decision I take is the Writing Market I am catering to. Which age bracket/ market does my story suit ( Picture Book, Early Readers, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult). Every story has a specific age group who will find the story interesting.
2. Which genre does the story I am writing belong to (Fantasy Fiction, SciFi, Mystery, Horror, Humor, Suspense, Historical, Paranormal ).
3. Once the age group and genre are sorted, then it becomes easier to add elements to the story that will appeal to children in those age groups. Every age group has its set of problems that children face. Sibling rivalry, learning disabilities, jealousy, fierce competitiveness, parental pressure, peer pressure, lack of interest in studies, rebellious behaviour, bullying, body image issues, Insecurities and complexes, adjusting with parental separation, and relationship/dating issues.
4. When elements from these issues are added to the story via small sub-plots, then the characters facing these issues become a kind of role model for children of that age group who are facing those problems.
5. There is a strong sense of identity between the readers and the protagonist. When the protagonist is facing the problem the readers tackle everyday a connection is forged between them.
6. The language and style of writing can be tweaked to suit that particular age group.
7. Once everything slides into place (age group, genre, style, problems faced and tackled) it becomes easier for us to write keeping that specific age group and their dreams, hopes, desires, problems and aspirations in mind.
8. Every story needs a different treatment, but once we decide which age group we are specifically targeting, it becomes easier to add elements of life that will specially appeal to that particular age group and adopt a style of writing and language to suit that age group.
What do you all think? What kind of elements should we add to make our stories appealing to that age group? Is there anything particular we should do so that our work suits a specific market and there are less chances of it being rejected due to unsuitability?