Writing for an Audience
by E.A. Aymar
I figured this was a good topic for Yvonne’s blog since Pandemic (her upcoming debut that sounds freaking fascinating) is targeted for young adults and the YA market has its own particular rules and audience expectations. My debut novel is a thriller and, while I wrote it in accordance with that genre’s parameters, it’s hard to draw inside the lines. I have a friend who writes romance, and she told me that she’s seen requests for romance novels that don’t just ask for the basics (historical period, word count), but even include stipulations regarding the heroine’s personality and how the book should end. That sounds like creative suicide to me, but it’s not unusual. Part of it comes with being a professional, full-time writer; I know some people who manage to write for a living, and they often have to write something they’re not interested in. A writer-for-hire, in other words. Tough business. And not one I think I could do, to be honest. I know I wouldn’t want to do it.
But this also has to do with your audience’s expectations. Romance readers typically expect a happy ending. Mystery readers are used to a corpse appearing in the opening pages. Christian enthusiasts like a biblical parallel, fans of erotica need some kissin’. There are certain conventions that you have to follow if you choose to write in a particular field. Fortunately, thrillers are allowed some lenience when it comes to convention (as is YA), and the majority of people who have commented on my debut have been enthusiastic; a boob popping out in the story didn’t bother them. But it did serve to remind me that, no matter how freely and openly you write, you always need to keep your readers in mind. Breaking rules is fun, but you have to be careful you don’t break trust.