My Ideal Reader?

FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride. ~ Dawn

I’ve heard that some writers envision their reader and target their story for that person. I haven’t been able to do that, which has been my struggle with the picture books. I’ve tried writing for my daughter, but if the idea doesn’t work, it isn’t going to work. Maybe I just don’t write that way. Honestly, I have enough ideas flowing past me, I can snatch them out of the air, until I start trying to be picky. So, I just hug my muse and start writing.

So who would enjoy my writing? That’s tough to say.

My blog and nonfiction writing are definitely aimed at writers, especially those beside me in the trenches.

My science fiction is less techie and more sociaological. I love creating a planet (or planets) and figuring out what causes conflicts, and what makes them worse.  I love challenging my character to grow, to find what’s inside them to overcome their obstacles.

My fantasy writing tends toward the same, though I revel in creating magic systems. Figuring out and putting together a network of magic that needs to run smoothly, that can make or break someone’s lives, that’s just too much fun.

But the characters in both genres are people that have someone to lose, or in some cases, nothing left to lose and it’s their very soul they’re trying to save from bitter meltdown. We’ve all been in dark places, haven’t we? (If you haven’t, I want to borrow your life for a little while, just til I get bored). My stories take those dark places and gives it meaning, assigns it value as a tool for growing and moving beyond.

My “ideal” reader in all honesty, is me. I write for me. I write to remind myself the dark is in the past, and that whatever darkness may come, I’ll face it down. I think that’s why I can’t write humor. I think that’s why the picture books are so challenging for me, despite the fun my daughter and I have creating stories together. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on them. Maybe it means my focus just isn’t there right now. And by dark, I don’t necessarily mean horror, though I’d dabbled a bit with it. I mean dark literally as the opposite of light, happy, and airy.

As much as I enjoyed My Little Pony as a child, I’m probably not going to write anything that fluffy.  I’ll try though, as my daughter enjoys such things, but probably for her eyes only.

But for me, and for the rest of my readers, whomever you may be, here comes the dark. Here come battles of the heart and soul. You’ve been warned.

Happy Writing


PS share with us in comments the kinds of books you enjoy reading. Is there anything that makes you squee in delight and buy the book without even reading the first page?

Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round January  topic ‘My Ideal Reader’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.   The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.


8 responses to “My Ideal Reader?

  1. Honestly, I can’t write without humor, even if it’s just wry observations on the situation my characters find themselves in. It’s one of my defenses against the dark, and it certainly has made its way into my writing.

    As for what I enjoy reading — wow, that’s all over the map. But I don’t read things that are too dark. If I can’t see how the author can possibly get the characters through without leaving someone broken . . . I’ll stop reading. There’s enough of that in real life. I prefer to believe there’s hope.

    • That’s a healthy defense – I wished I’d learned some of it. Not too late though, I suppose. 🙂 Maybe I can find a panel at Worldcon?

      As for your reading: I’ve read your blog. You’re so widely read, I can’t hope to ever catch up with you. It’s why you’re the first person I check with when I need to find something new to read. 🙂

      • You can find panels on just about everything at Worldcon.

        And aw, shucks, thanks on the reading. I try to read widely in SF/F, but I know there’s a whole wide world out there I don’t always visit. Haven’t read very many cozies lately, or romance — and if it’s mainstream or literary, I’m more likely to ask Bonnie about it than to read it myself.

  2. Actually, it sounds like I might be your ideal reader. I love dark stories that dig into the scarier recesses of someone’s soul to see just what what they’re made of. While I do read the occasional light and fluffy book, all of my favorites, all of my obsessive re-reads are those the look in the dark corners.

    I don’t have a lot of instant-squee books. But lately I’ve been excited about alternate history novels with fantasy elements. I picked up the first three Temeraire books by Naomi Novik without a read through simply because she combined two of my favorite things–Napoleonic-era Navy battles (I love Horatio Hornblower) and dragon riding (I love Pern).

    B.C. Matthews

  3. I’ve tried to cut back on my impulse book buying, but I get suckered on Norse and Celtic themes. I bought Elizabeth Bear’s Edda of Burdens series for that reason. Ditto with The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove, except I haven’t read that one yet. I also like first-person hard boiled detective fantasy, in the style of Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, and others.

    • D, have you read Taammy Jones yet? She’s got some fantasy detective novels that are pretty darn good. I think I’ll add those others to my list. 🙂

  4. Squee-worthy author? Jasper Fforde. I’m even willing to pay full hardcover price for the ebook versions of his books. He’s brilliant.

    I love fantasy that has something new to offer. I’ve been reading the genre for over 30 years and I love new twists on magic systems or social castes or whatever. And if it’s all done while keeping the people real, even better.

    So, it sounds like I’m one of your readers!

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