How does audience impact creative writing from an author’s perspective?
So often in our lives, we read books and have a differing opinion than others reading the same book. One of the reasons this happens is that books are written by authors for specific audiences, and often don’t appeal to other demographics. The actual intent of the author is not to appeal to everyone, but to appeal to a very small group of people. My inquiry question allows me to understand how authors write for such specific demographics. Throughout my project my question has changed in wording but not in my focus. In the beginning, I wanted to focus on the effect of audience-specific literature on the average reader, instead of authors. I changed my question to focus on authors because these two ideas are interconnected, and author strategies ultimately lead to the effects their writing has on audiences. By changing my question, I made my research more specific and narrowed down my question to a more manageable size. Moreover, I was able to exercise my ability to connect ideas and study the relationship of cause and effect from writers to readers. By adapting my question and studying an interest I was able to form a deeper understanding of the author and audience dynamics.
Throughout ZIP I have expanded many important literacy skills that will further benefit me as a student. Firstly, I have gained a better understanding of different demographics within society, and how to interact with different people. Research concerning author and audience dynamics lead to more research into different dynamics authors could possibly target. Secondly, most of my research came from marketing sources about targeting demographics. I synthesized my research to relate to writing instead of marketing purposes. This gave me practice synthesizing information to different mediums and topics, which can be used in the future for different inquiry projects. Moreover, synthesizing research also helped me form a deeper understanding of connections between different literary concepts. Through developing my understanding of demographics, research, and synthesizing information, I am now able to utilize each of these skills for future projects.
Answering inquiry question:
There is no true answer to my inquiry question, as there is no perfect way to write for an audience. An author’s identity will always come across in their writing, and authors are often limited to demographics they personally belong to. An example of demographic barriers would be gender, economic class, family life, and career. All these demographical components can contain authors within their own lived experiences. You will notice this as female writers tend to write for female audiences, or parents tend to write parenting books. In this way, our ability to write literature is dictated by shared experiences such as being female or being a parent. These shared experiences make you reliable and trustworthy, which help you build a relationship with your reader through the characters in your novel. “You need to serve primarily and sell to secondarily” as stated by Peter Frances in his study on changing demographics in business. This quote shows us that serving your audience or forming a relationship is more important than selling the idea of understanding. Forcing a relationship never works. In order to form a meaningful connection over literature, the author must convince readers to care about their characters. To do this author’s often write similarities from the main character to the audience through thought, decisions, and lifestyle. Such as Harry Potter was written for children ages 9-13 in the middle to lower class. Similarly, the main character is an 11year old boy who lives with a middle-class family. Another example of this being books directed towards a female audience having female main characters, who make decisions primarily based on female logic. Overall, the answer to my question is undefined. Authors are most effective when writing from experience to demographics they relate to and can connect with through characters within their fictional stories.
My final learning artifact is two stories directed to different ages of children following the same plot line. Both stories are about a female main character who discovers goblins living in a laundry room wall whose sole purpose is to collect socks. As explained in the previous paragraph authors are contained to write from shared experience. In this way, I decided to make both my characters female. The first story is for ages 2-5 and encompasses the theme of kindness and always keeping a positive attitude. This story utilizes my learning by showcasing my ability to sift through vocabulary and make thematic decisions based on my chosen audience. The second story is written for children ages 10-12 with younger siblings. Writing from my own experience as an older sibling allows me to create a relatable character based on lived experience. This story encompasses the older sister’s acceptance of her younger brother’s constant torment and the theme of accepting others for their own identities. Throughout these two stories, I utilize skills learned throughout this project to write for specific audiences from lived experience.
This artifact demonstrates my chosen competencies as audience writing is the art of adapting different aspects of literary tools. My first competency being to “Recognize and appreciate how different forms, formats, structures, and features of texts enhance and shape meaning and impact”. This relates to my artifact as by adapting the format and features of text I can create two stories with different meaning but the same plot. The second competency is to “Explore how language constructs personal and cultural identities”. This competency is incredibly important when writing children’s stories, as your vocabulary as a child dictates your perceived identity to others. I utilize this in my first story for ages 2-5 as shown in the quote “Mom got up and helped Kate get ready for the day”. By referring to Kate’s mother as Mom the story further identifies that vocabulary of its audience. Moreover, utilizing the third person allows children to learn from other people’s experiences. Using first or the second person confuses children at a young age, as they cannot understand the complexity of putting yourself in someone else’s life. When using ‘I’ children get confused as to who you are referring to and cannot understand that they are the person within the story. The final competency for my project is to “Transform ideas and information to create original texts”. This competency is the base of my entire ZIP project, as I have used audience ideas and transformed them into two fictional stories.
This source incorporates how to adapt a written work to fit an audience. This was incredibly useful when writing my artifact as I wrote the same plot for two different audiences.
This source teaches key point when relating to an audience’s ethos side. This source also includes helpful statistics on common vocabulary mistakes.
This source focuses on the difference of marketing to men and women as a small business. This is useful as it gets into the most common differences in mindset between men and women which is useful when studying audience analysis and writing characters. This source helped me realize how hard it is to write for someone outside your relatable demographic.
This source explains the importance of customer demographics and targeting audiences in marketing. By looking at the most important demographics in marketing I can transfer this into the important demographics for authors writing for audiences.
I have many new and exciting questions to further explore my inquiry topic. One of these questions is, do authors choose their plot or audience first, and how do authors write fictional experiences based on real life? These questions all relate to the ambiguous answer to my inquiry question. Since I now know how authors write for audiences I want to further explore how they choose the appropriate demographic. This excites me as understanding this piece would make my ZIP relevant throughout the entire writing process, from choosing, writing, and editing for an audience.