Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reader as Deity

Today I pose a small question, and would like to hear from you your opinions on the matter. In what ways and to what extent do you factor in the reader when you are writing?

I am taking a course in which members of the creative writing faculty, as well as local authors, present what they write, why they write, and how they write. The most recent was a poet who said in less kind terms that she didn't give a damn about the reader. And I found myself judging her. Perhaps it is because I want to entertain, not instruct, but it seems to me that anyone who wished to be published had to at some point consider the audience.

Or maybe she just let the publisher deal with that. What do you think?


  1. I almost never think about the reader when I'm drafting, but I do think about the reader when I'm revising. The draft is for my own entertainment. When I get to the end of the draft, I've been entertained. The only reason I go back to revise it is because I want it to entertain other people, too. Beyond just making sure the story flows and there aren't any plot holes, there are some decisions that get made solely based on anticipated readership. For instance, in Magestone, how far to let Keith go (he finished in early drafts), or whether to include the cliffhanger at the end.

    So maybe with the poet, she writes for her own entertainment. And if people want to publish and read her poems, awesome, and if not, it's no skin off her back.

  2. Meh, I think I would've judged her too. But I'm from the PR world where the customer/audience is king! During my first drafts, I'm always conscious of the reader, but usually from my own(as in me, myself and I) desires as a reader. In my subsequent drafts, I have a specific editing phase that focuses from the reader's perspective.

    Draft 1: You as the author
    Draft 2: Your characters, make 'em the best you can
    Draft 3: Your do NOT want to accidentally pull them out of the story.