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Writer Tip #24 is to know who your target audience is. I believe I've talked about this before, but it's so important, I'm going to do it again.
As you sit down to write your book, you need to picture who you're writing for. Anything that's family-oriented, romantic, or has a nostalgic feel will, for the most part, be aimed at women. Anything that's bang-em-up, ridin' horses, or really heavy suspense will, for the most part, be aimed at men. Now, you will have your exceptions -- some men really enjoy a good nostalgic story and some women really get into a shoot-em story, but speaking of the generalities, which usually predict the market, this is how we'll categorize our books for men and women.
Why are we doing this? By determining our audience, we determine our writing style.
Again, using generalities:
Men like their stories a little more terse and to the point. They want to get to the action. They want suspense right up front, they want things to move along quickly, and they don't care as much about setting, colors, and descriptions. They like to have a general idea of what things look like, but for the most part, it really doesn't matter to them if the girl's dress was crimson or scarlet -- for them, it's good enough that it's red. They are action-oriented readers.
Women like their stories to touch them emotionally. When a character suffers, they want to feel that suffering for themselves. Women want to feel as though the characters in the book are their friends. Women want to know what shade the dress is, what the room looks like, how she fixed her hair for the big party. When the guy breaks the girl's heart, women want to cry right along with the character. Women want to connect internally with what they're reading.
So, as you're writing, ask yourself -- am I reaching out to my reader in the way they want me to?
She went into her room and cried.
This is not enough for a female reader. Let's try again:
She went into her room and kicked her discarded yellow t-shirt out of the way, closing the door behind her with a thud of finality. Only then did she let the tears flow, but her chest hurt from keeping the sobs in for so long. She threw herself down on her unmade bed, pulling her lavender pillow close and using it to muffle her sobs.
Okay, that's more of a woman's story. We get emotion, we get description, and we feel some of the character's pain.
However, for a man:
She went into her room and cried. Downstairs, he loaded his gun, then climbed into his Jeep 4X4, peeling out and leaving black streaks on the concrete. As he drove past Marconi's house, he rolled down his window and blasted the garage door with four perfectly round holes.
In this example, it doesn't matter what her room looks like, what color his truck is, what color Marconi's house is, or what anyone was wearing when they did it.
You'll also use these tips as you write different genres -- a straight romance will generally have more description than a straight suspense, while a romantic suspense will employ both methods.
For more writing tips, go to the top of this blog and put "writer tips" in the search bar.