During her surprise presentation at the SCBWI conference in L.A., Judy Blume shared this bit of advice, which I think is wonderful: When an idea hits you, write it. Do not worry about the audience. Do it your way and the story will find its way and its audience.
This inspired great conversations among my friends. Most of us agreed that we do consider the audience before we write. Thinking about audience may even influence our writing more than we’d like. Some (and I’m not dropping names) admitted that considering the audience too much or too soon has been a major distraction from the story at hand.
How liberating to not worry about the audience, at least during the first draft. Frankly, I have enough to fuss with while I’m trying to get a story idea pinned down to a beginning, a middle, and an end.
And each story does seem to find its own way. By the time I’ve etched out a first draft, for example, my protagonist is naturally of a certain age and a he or a she. The problems and situations are clear enough to determine the audience.
What do you think? When you are writing, or even reading, do you consider the intended audience before the story? Or do you consider the story before the audience?