Not FOR but TO
It is often touted that if you want to be published, you do not write for yourself but for an audience.
You only THINK you know yourself.
You cannot see the totality of yourself, of your essence.
In other words, you cannot see between your shoulder-blades or between your ears
(what really makes you tick or become absorbed in a story.)
So you only think you know what you like, what draws you to a story.
Write for an audience they say -- as if everyone drawn to THE HUNGER GAMES were the same.
If you go to BOOKSAMILLION and sit at the coffee tables
and watch the customers read their books, you will notice one thing:
The majority of them are not like you, or like one another.
They’re all wildly different.
And not just in the way they look and talk, but in what they choose to read ...
and why they made that choice in the first place.
SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
You do not write FOR but TO ...
to a single reader, a face sitting in front of you beside the campfire of the imagination.
HOW TO DO THAT?
You create a protagonist for your novel, don't you?
Create a reader --
someone you like, someone who "gets" you, someone who laughs at the same things you do.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
This reader does not need a name ... only a personality ... someone you can connect to.
She or he will be your test-audience.
Will she be sniffling along with you as you write this heart-wrenching scene?
Will she get the joke you just told or does your instinct say that pun will fall flat with her?
KEEPING ON POINT
This avatar reader will keep you in focus,
prevent you from meandering with self-aggrandizing prose that tickles your ego but bores your reader to tears.
Writing to keep this avatar reader's interest will sharpen your prose
to the extent that any reader picking up your book will buy into the reality of your tale.
The reader will not merely read your novel, she will enter it—and she won’t emerge until it’s over.
What have you to lose? And think of the interested readers you have to gain!