Thursday, September 20, 2012

How do you balance writing for yourself and writing for your readers?

Hi guys,

How are you doing today? I know it’s kind of late for me to say this, but I wanted to say thank you so much for joining our first YA Stands Twitter chat (#YAStandsChat) on the 11th. We asked you how do you own yourself as a writer, and I loved you shared your personal experiences and opinions. If you missed our chat, don’t worry, there will be many more opportunities in the future. Stay tuned.

I must confess I was a little worried about writing a blog entry on how self-conscious I still feel whenever I tell people I’m a writer. But I’m glad I built up courage and published my entry. Writing it and reading your response, actually, made me feel supported. Thank you!

This entry will be about another really private topic. Oh, let’s just call it by its name: this entry will be about another of my secrets. A secret, I hope (not really, because I actually wish you don’t have to deal with this sort of frustration), we have in common. I warn you, though, this entry will have so many questions it will make your brain go fuzzy. Like nargles do. So, drink coffee before you read it.

I now and then feel like I sabotage my own characters. It’s true, my friends. Many characters have gotten so mad at me in the past for censuring their speech, I had to do some major negotiations with them, otherwise they would go on strike.
"Yes, some of these characters are still mad."

It’s not that my characters want to attack people with words. Well, sometimes they do feel like it. Some of the things they discuss can be a bit controversial, yes. Even nice things to say can’t please everyone, right? I bet you heard the most outrageous things from your characters, too. What did you do: 1) Did you just transcribe everything the way they said it? Or 2) Did you filter everything?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it feel like that old discussion on how to balance writing for yourself and writing for your audience?

If we’re truly considering joining the publishing industry, we’ll have to follow some rules. I guess that means we need to make sure what we write is appropriate for a certain age group. I’m not questioning that. But I wonder if restraining characters too much kind of goes against that first impulse we had when we began writing: we started writing fiction because writing was the moment when we felt free.
Can we repeat everything our characters ask us to write down?

Was there a moment when you wish you could have let your characters say or do something differently, but couldn’t? Maybe the ideal solution is to balance writing for yourself and writing for readers, but how do we achieve that? 

1 comment:

  1. For me, I write everything as they want me to write it down. Once I start edits, I then review. Most of the times I don't make changes on anything controversial, until I get feedback from my betas. Then of course, I start negotiating with them if I feel that the betas are right. ;)