Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Do You Write For? Part #1

I write for me.

There, I said it. Truthfully, it's not that I don't care about what other people think. It's not that I don't care about other people in general or anything. For goodness sake, I am a teacher....dedicated my life to other people's kids and all that. It's just that when I write, my first audience (and my most important audience) is me.

That being said, there are different MEs that I write for. (Not that I have a split least I don't think I do....I mean, I'd know, right? Or maybe just one of my personalities knows and the other, the blogging one, is hopelessly in the dark....hmmm.) Anyway, back to the different MEs.

When I write a picture book, I am writing for teacher/StoryQueen Shelley. She wants a book that:
  • she can read billions times aloud and not get sick of.
  • she can use funny voices with (most of the time).
  • inspires kids to want to join in (especially the repetitive bits)
  • makes kids laugh.
  • makes kids have that glassy-eyed there-is-nothing-in-the-universe-but-this-story look when they listen to it.
  • makes kids laugh (did I say that already?)
  • plays with language in a way that reminds her what a fabulous thing books are.
  • has a magical combination of the simple and the complex.
  • asks kids to think, or maybe make connections with their own lives somehow.
Now, of course, I am considering my kid audience in all of these areas....but it is the Queen that calls the shots. It is her perception of how my book will measure up when she is on the front lines that guides my writing. She loves when she reads to kids and THEY love it. She loves when a book just BEGS to be read aloud.

She is not always easy to please....but she knows her stuff. (Uh-oh, I am talking about myself in 3rd person....I DO have a split personality! Crud.)

Who do you write for?



Catherine Denton said...

For awhile I wrote for the masses, trying to figure out what would sell. But now I've come to the place of doing it because it's therapeutic and I love it. So I guess for me.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love your list, especially the laughter and glass-eyed enchantment. I so envy your live audience. ;)

First, I write for me, because if I don't love it, the whole point of writing is dead. That's why I'm really enjoying my latest project.

It's always a kick to have crit partners laugh at my funny bits and get worked up about the tense ones, but if I need a lift, the best one comes from a moment that happened out of the blue. I was at a SCBWI schmooze in a bookstore. We all wrote opening lines from some prompt. When I read mine aloud, a boy who stopped to listen, jumped up and down and beamed at me. He said he really wanted to read that book. I was stunned and still get a thrill picturing his excited face.
(now if I'd get something finished and out there.....maybe I'd see more faces that make it all worth while)

Unknown said...

Oh, great post! My first draft's for me. After that, I feel glimmers of that first love, but hammering it out in revisions, it's more of a commitment love, not a giddy love. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I write for myself, because the stories I want to read are not being written. Also, to tell the truth about things that never happened.

Corey Schwartz said...

This post cracked me up! Also made me think I should run all my PB manuscripts by you before sending them out! :)

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post!

Susan R. Mills said...

Well, lately, since I've been doing a lot of journal writing that will never see the light of day, I'd have to say me. But I also write for my daughter and her friends. And hopefully a bigger audience of kids her age soon.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love your first bullet point! "She wants a book that:she can read billions times aloud and not get sick of." I think that's really important about writing picture have to love to read them over and over, or kids won't want to either...

Thanks for sharing, Shelley!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i write for the part inside me that's dying to speak.

Laura S. said...

I write for me too. I don't know if I'll ever get published, but I know I'll always be writing no matter what. So it's important to put myself with my writing. I write things I want to read!

erica and christy said...

Wow. I am so glad you found us/we found you today! I'm a preschool teacher (14th year) and write YA/MG because *cough, don't tell anyone, cough* I'm not sure I'm smart enough to write picture books.

I own probably 600 (of varying quality) and have read them countless thousands of times aloud (to varying degrees).

So, I write my YA fiction to the teenage-me who simply loved to read a good book (and to all those who follow in my footsteps).

If I attempted a picture book, I would write it to all those hundreds, if not thousands, of eyes that have looked at me in wonder when I've read a book to them (funny voices, puppets, hats, and all).

Paige Keiser said...

I definitely write for me, otherwise I die of boredom. :)

storyqueen said...

Catherine-I never can figure out what is going to sell and what is going to sit in the I might as well at least write what I like, right?

Tricia-What a great story...I'd probably want to read that book, too!

Karen-Well put!

Matthew-To tell the truth about stuff that never happened....ain't THAT the truth!

Corey-I'd be happy to read any thing you sent my way!

Susanne-Thank you!

Susan-I write a ton of stuff that will never see the light of least I hope it never will. (How embarrassing!)

Sharon-It's true, though. As a parent/teacher, there are books I have read more times than the the original author has read them, I am quite sure.

Shelli-Yes! me too!

Laura-Yes, writing will always be a part of my life, too. It's just what we do.

Erica-Oh, you don't have to be that smart to write a PB...just a little crazy, that's all.

Paige-Me too, definitely.

Laura Pauling said...

I'd have to say me since I write stories that I'd love to read. I want to have fun while I writer, or be so involved the trauma that I love it.

Davin Malasarn said...

Hi Storyqueen! I haven't talked to you in ages. This is a great post, and I bet that's why I think your writing is so good. My writing got a lot better when I decided to stop trying to please others and stick to my own standards. I think I stopped forcing my work. Now, I write for me, or more accurately someone slightly cooler than me. That helps me raise the bar. :P