Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Write to please just one person. If you open the window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
Lots of writers – Vonnegut among them – talk about the ideal reader. Usually, this is a construct to sum up the kind of people, the category of readers, you’re trying to reach. I find even this to be too broad and overwhelming. If someone told me to write for fellow writers…well, heck, I know plenty of writers with varying personalities and tastes. I’m back to square one.
No, when I think of my ideal reader, it has to be a specific person in mind. That person changes from piece to piece. Roar Shack and The Coast were both pretty much written for me. I didn’t really have anyone in mind that I was trying to impress. However, this ghost story that I’ve tried to plot? Yeah, I can’t write that for myself. I’m starting to warm up to the ghost story genre, but I’m still not such a dedicated fan that I’m trying to write for myself.
Enter Tatiana, a friend I’ve known since I was six (fuck me, I’m old!). Tatiana and I had lunch about a week ago. She asked how writing’s been going. I told her what I had on my plate and about this ghost story that was giving me a hard time. I gave her the brief on the ghost story. She cringed appropriately, so it got me thinking that I absolutely must write that story. Some way. Some how.
In truth, I have no clue how I’m going to make that story work. The beginning and end are the parts kicking my ass. Still, because I have that ideal reader in mind, writing the story isn’t much of a choice for me. I have a need to deliver.