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In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Target Audience


Well here we are again at the beginning of a new month wherein I find myself posting a day late for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  I absolutely hate being in this position, yet somehow I keep finding myself in it. I'm going to save all of the whining deep, introspective thoughts I have about my pitiful time management skills for another post and just focus on today's IWSG post: writing for a  Target Audience.
My girls love archery. They have been avid archers for quite some time.
And unlike many others their age, that interest in shooting predates The Hunger Games. 
There is no denying that prior to the Hunger Games and Katniss "making it cool" (as my daughter Faith would say) my girls were the only girls in our area to visit  the shooting range. But not any more. Now, the influx of young girls their age at the shooting range is staggering. All of their friends who used to care less are interested in learning how to shoot! It got me thinking about the incredible impact our writing can have on young minds. Did Suzanne Collins ever imagine how many young girls were going to run out and buy bows while she was writing The Hunger Games?

How many of us writers start out working on a project with a specific type of audience in mind? Does the genre in which you write already geared towards a certain group of fans?  While your writing, do you keep your target audience in mind the entire time? What happens if you feel the characters are taking you in  a different direction? Do you edit material or plot elements  because of your target audience? How many of us actively consider the impact our words will have on a younger audience whether we intended it or not?

I do not have illusions of grandeur- I highly doubt my first book will have the impact The Hunger Games did on  the YA world- but watching the impact of Collin's words and the ripple effect it had on the kids my daughters' age did make me sit up and take much more notice and care with the content I include in my writing.

If you'd like to know more about the amazing Insecure Writer's Support Group, or like to sign up, please check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog or the Insecure Writer's Facebook Page! Finger's crossed that next month's post for this awesome group will be on time...(I believe in miracles.)

42 comments:

  1. I do consider my audience and fans when I write, but I know what I write won't have any deep impact. I also think about the content and don't include anything inappropriate for younger readers.

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    1. I think you are too humble and underestimate yourself Alex. I know how much of an impact you have had on the blogging world alone and that was EXTENSIVE! Somehow, I am not surprised you are someone who considers your content before printing it. :)

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  2. I write for teens and so far haven't veered in my target audience. Funny thing is, I think I saw somewhere that adults are the main YA readership (like me, so I'm not surprised) and I wonder if as a whole YA writers have to consider this or if they still target teens. Also, I TOTALLY asked for and got a bow and arrow set for my birthday after reading Hunger Games. :)

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    1. I find myself reading and enjoying more YA than adult as well. Like I said to Alex, I have no doubt you are someone who carefully considers the content of their work before publishing. Good for you taking up archery!! My girls are encouraged by all of the traffic at the shooting range and are fully enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame for being able to teach all of their friends how to shoot! They finally get to show off their skills.

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  3. I constantly worry about what others will think of my work, but really have no sense of what my target audience is. I used to have a better sense of it back when I wrote novels, but now that I write/draw comics...I have no idea! Since hardly anyone will ever see my comics, anyway, I'm pretty much my only target audience right now, haha.

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    1. Hi Heather!! As long as you love and believe in what you are doing, that's all that matters. But don't underestimate how many people see your comics! You never know how far reaching your work will become.

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  4. It really makes you stop and think when you see how far reaching the ripple effect can be, doesn't it? It's sobering and makes me chose my words oh-so more carefully.

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    1. I find it to be similar to parenting, very humbling. As a parent, I don't want to do or say anything that would cause my kids to stumble and/or fall, so I certainly wouldn't want to write anything that could lead a young person astray. (If that makes any sense..)

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  5. I am attracted to a certain genre, fantasy and all its minions. Naturally, I must write what I love so much. I don't often read nonfiction or contemporary stories that don't have magic in them but I do have them on my bookshelf. It's just that fantasy tends to crowd them out.

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    1. Hey CD! Thanks for stopping in and helping to host the IWSG this month. I am attracted to the fantasy genre and all of it's minions as well. Urban fantasy like Rosemary and Rue by McGuire and high fantasy like Games of Thrones in particular.

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  6. Something to ponder. For the most part I let my story unfold without really thinking about the impact it might have on my audience. Possibly because I'm not really sure who my target audience is. I'm more about the story than targeting anyone in particular to read it.

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    1. With the exception of one MG novel that I specifically wrote with that genre in mind, I never really thought about the far-reaching implications characters can have on certain groups. After seeing the ripple effect with the Hunger Games and the bows and arrows, this thought really came to a forefront in my mind. Definitely something to think on.

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  7. I don't actually even think about who my audience is. I think that's limiting. I just tell the story and hope it grabs ANYONE who picks it up. No matter your niche, if the story is good enough, everyone will enjoy it. I mean, Harry Potter is for kids, but everyone loves that. Game of Thrones is epic fantasy, but everyone loves that as well. Etc.

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    1. I think that is a very good point! As a rule, I don't like to limit myself anywhere in life- (except for my alcoholic beverage intake which is for the good of all LOL) other than that, I hate to live in a box. I like to try to do new things and write new things. I don't even like to limit the genres I write in because I feel like it's stifling my creativity. Hopefully, my writing can transcend all types of audiences as well.

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  8. The Hunger Games actually made ME want to go out and learn how to shoot. That thought did cross my mind but, er, I'm actually far too lazy to go DO it.

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    1. It's actually a lot of fun. I know my girls certainly enjoy (for once) being able to show off at a sport. Usually, we are the last ones running on the field, the ones who miss the ball in soccer, or get hit with it in softball. Being at the range allows my chubby kids to shine. Size doesn't make any difference whether or not you can hit a target. And I have to tell you, it brings this momma no small amount of satisfaction to see grown men sit up and take notice of what great shots my chubby little girls are!!

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  9. Can't wait for Catching Fire! Yes I'm excited. Books can have all kinds of effects on people. Just focus on writing your best work.

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    1. Me too. The girls and I are ready for it. Can't wait to go watch in the movies. I still remember the profound effect that The Hobbit had on me when I first read it. My love affair with fantasy was born the moment I read, "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." I was like, what the heck is a Hobbit? And from that moment on I was completely HOOKED.

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  10. To me it is like most things in writing. It is good to understand and keep in mind, but it can not be something that rules your writing.

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    1. I agree. I am a panster by nature and thinking that far ahead, doesn't really come naturally to me. Also, my stories tend to be character driven. As my characters change and grow, my story kind of follows suit. I never thought of this too much, like I said before, until I saw all the young girls at the range with their brand new bows and arrows. LOL

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  11. I used to worry about my audience, but it just kept me back. I decided to let go and write about things that I love.

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    1. Hey Jay! Congrats on your cover reveal. It's awesome.

      I am not really worried about my audience all that much; except maybe for my mother-in-law. She is quite conservative. I don't want to completely scandalize her :)

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    2. Ha! That's why I write under a pen name.

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    3. LOL! You are a smart man for sure.

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  12. Who my audience ends up being always surprises me, so after my first book, I decided to let myself be surprised.

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    1. Oh that's awesome Melanie! I like that. It's cool that you allow your work to be a surprise to you. Very cool.

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  13. I loved archery years ago though I haven't indulged recently. It would be terrific to have such an impact on popular culture.

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    1. Hi Susan. Yes, wouldn't it be nice to know that you started such a cool trend?

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  14. My characters tend to kill each other. I really hope no one's being influenced by me! Although I could always write about characters who do press ups and squats on the hour, every hour... :-)

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    1. Oh my gosh that would be ugh BAD. I guess some genres like horror are (hopefully) exempt from this sort of influence. LOL
      -It would really do me some good to be influenced by the real Annalisa and find myself doing more squats! I need to enlist the help of a personal trainer to get me motivated, for sure.

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  15. It's amazing how much The Hunger Games have influenced young girls. It would be neat to see if my books could influence people, but like Annalisa, i don't want anyone killing folks. Hehehe! I don't think about my target audience much until editing time, and then I hope I have the right elements for my genre. Have a great weekend!

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    1. The horror genre should (hopefully) be exempt from this type of influence! LOL

      With the exception of one middle grade WIP, I'm not sure if I ever wrote with a specific genre in mind. It was always the idea or characters that came to me first. After seeing all of the young girls turn up at the range, I think it just made me all the more aware of content and it's impact on the younger generation.

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  16. I think it's cool your daughters developed their interest before the book. Whenever I tell people I once went to New Zealand, I'm sure to point out that I did it before the LOTR movies made it the go-to destination for all of geekdom.

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    1. Thanks. I think it's cool that you went to New Zealand! It's on my bucket list. And yes, the desire to go see NZ was instilled in me prior to the LOTR movies, but I can't say that it wouldn't be a bit more of a motivating factor now! LOL

      The other day I was out in my 20 plus year old Star Wars t-shirt (which I really need to retire and have no business still wearing outside my home, but that's a whole other topic...LOL) and I was amazed at the young clerk in the super market who stared at my shirt and said, "Wow, I really love your shirt!" A lot of kids her age have never even seen Star Wars. I wondered if perhaps there could be a resurgence of new fans? Not sure. But it also started me thinking about how far reaching the influence of books and movies can be! If interest can span so many years.

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  17. It sure highlights the power of the written word doesn't it? Awesome that your girls have such a cool hobby.

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    1. I love that they have interesting and different hobbies. Having a Dad that is a Marine and a cop, has had it's own kind of influence on them in the hobby department. They have always loved going to the range and shooting; whether its bows and arrows or a shot gun and/or pistols. In any event, they cause quite a stir when they show up at the range. Most grown men can't shoot the way they can!

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  18. As others here have said already, I tend to let the story tell itself without aiming for a Target Audience. Growing up, I read a wide selection of novels and I think those who read regularly branch out eventually. However, I think those who write for profit have to be ready for the limitations any success may put on them. When you're successful and HAVE an audience, a target audience will find you. This was a good question to ask, though, as you can see from all the people eager to respond. Thank you! Cheers.

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  19. You girls are so adorable!! And don't worry about the audience. Write from your heart the audience will find you.
    You been tagged from something over at my blog!
    http://danibertrand.blogspot.com/2013/11/express-yourself-top-5-tv-shows-7.html

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  20. I took archery in college and almost failed it. I've got this eye hand coordination problem. I have tried to write stories that I believe are "marketable", but I can't. I tend to just obsess over certain characters that I fall in love with and they tell me their stories.

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  21. I do try my best to consider the target audience when I write. Of course, some things are harder to pick the target audience.

    And I love archery. It was one of my favorite activities in gym class. It was why I had my MC in my novel use the bow/arrows. Of course, I wrote the novel before I ever even heard of The Hunger Games. I even have an archery set myself. :)

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  22. YES! I absolutely consider my audience. My goal is to work in themes of self value and the importance of family with young minds. I seriously thing every teen struggles with self esteem (if not us adults as well), and some messages are timely and needed at a certain stage in life. At the same time, I write them for me--the me who existed at 14 to 16 years old. I think that's the best we can do, right?

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  23. Archery is a very useful skill, so it's good that youth are trying out what their heroes do. :)

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