Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Another Writing Tip


Since when is it wrong to consider one’s market when writing a book? The writer who wants to be read--the writer who wants to even inadvertendly minister or teach or entertain or say "life is like this"--will certainly consider his/her reader in the writing process.

I was listening to a Sol Stein tape the other day. Just before my 20-year-old car’s tape player ate the tape, Mr. Stein had three people in the audience stand up. He pointed to one and said, “You’re the writer.” To the next he said, “You’re the book.” And to the third he said, “You’re the reader.” Then he told the “writer” to sit down, leaving the “book” and the “reader” standing.

His point? By the time the book gets to the reader, we’re done. We’re out of the picture.

If your editor or test reader asks a question and you find yourself saying something like, "You may not understand what's happening now, but you will by the time you get to chapter three--" well, that's a problem. Because you're not going to be around to say that when an editor or reader is plowing through your manuscript.

We had better do our best and think of our reader as we’re writing. We have to consider his needs (emotional, intellectual, and spiritual), his sensibilities, and his expectations. We can stretch him if we like, but we must think of him with every word we write because once we’re done, we’re gone.

Remember that. Mark it down. And don't ever believe that writers shouldn't write for the market they serve.

Angie

2 comments:

Betsy said...

On a previous post about issues dealt with issues in Christian Fiction. I don't know if this is going to be an ongoing list but here is a couple. Christmas Every Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren dealt with Alzheimer's. At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols dealt with grief and the impact it has on a marriage. Deb Raney's A Vow to Cherish also with Alzheimer's. The title escapes me but Melody Carlson wrote a book about Crystal Meth addiction.

Betsy said...

Somebody mind and grammar has disappeared. Sorry about the major typo's