Sunday, January 23, 2022

Write To Please Just One Person: alive or dead


"Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia." Kurt Vonnegut

Write to please just one person. I've heard/read this advice from many writers. Vonnegut, as usual, finds an entertaining way to make the point. I've only recently found the person I want to write to and it's really helped me make my style more personal. The person happens to be dead, but you have to get help wherever you can find it.

First, I think you should write for yourself. Write what thrills you in other people's writing. For me that's a sense of "wonder", which is why I like speculative fiction. But there are other things. A particular style. I like spare writing. Other aspects of a story: I like suspense, a bit of humor to off-set darker writing, mystery and a subplot relationship. A story doesn't need all of these things and other things I could add that I like. But when I'm writing I know I want some of them in my story. 

However, when you have this and you're writing the actual novel it helps to think of one person you're writing to rather than a faceless audience. Too many writers think that writing to the widest audience possible will make their writing attractive to all readers. That doesn't happen. 

First, make your story meaningful to you. Make it excite you when you write and when you think about writing. Second, focus in on one person, your ideal reader maybe or someone whose tastes are like yours, and think about them as you write.

Keep writing.

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