I’ve heard authors say that as they write, they ask themselves what their readers want from the plot and characters at each moment or scene of the story. I find this admirable. I’m not surprised that writers care this much about their audiences and are passionate about giving their best. But. . .
I don’t obsess in this way. I don’t ask myself what potential readers want from plot and characters while I am beating at the keys of my laptop. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this or blog about it. Believe me, I do care a lot about my audience, really I do, but once I’m writing the first draft of my stories, I don’t ponder what the readers want. There is too much else going on in my brain. I am too immersed in my story and my characters while I am scraping out the first draft. I am right there with those characters, getting to know them, going through the motions of the story, tripping over road blocks, living the moments. To consider the audience too much would yank me out of this story world. A sports commentator might say I’m “in the zone.”
I do, however, consider audience during my first step--when I’m outlining and crafting the skeleton of the story. Does that count?
As a reader, can you tell when an author has been keeping you in mind?
If you are a writer: At what point do you ask yourself what your readers want? Or do you ask yourself this at each moment and scene of the story?