Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Comfort Reading

I’ve talked before about writing for your audience. We tend to think of our audience in terms of demographics: women, teenagers, intellectuals, history buffs, science fiction fans, office workers. But there’s a strong case to be made for thinking of your audience in terms of needs, in terms of situations.

It’s a short, powerful entry. Go read it.


3 responses to “Comfort Reading

  1. Poetigress December 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    *nods* I saw that entry’s link in one of the LiveJournal writing communities I watch. Powerful and true. And that’s essentially what I plan to tell people who think my work is too sentimental or that happy endings are somehow not “real.” Readers need stories that show them a way through.

  2. Tim Susman December 12, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve heard people say “if I wanted depressing, realistic stories, I’d read the newspaper.” But it all depends on what you want to write. Some people want that, and there’s an audience for it. Some people want to be terrified. Some people want to be comforted.I do think there’s a fine line between a happy ending and a full-on wish-fulfillment ending, which is fairly common in the fandom. But please, keep writing the happy endings. :)(Says the guy who invented New Tibet. :P )

  3. Poetigress December 12, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I tend to think of it in terms of Samwise’s little speech that he gives (at least in the film version) of… great, now I can’t remember if it’s Two Towers or Return of the King — about the stories that really matter.Not every story can end happily. But I like the ones that at least end hopefully, because those are the stories that give people courage. Those are the ones that say, in effect, “yes, things are very bad and may get worse, but if you keep your head up and do what you can, it might still come out all right in the end.”And it can be subtle. I mean, as bleak as “The Road” is, there’s still something redeeming in it to me, when the boy says “I won’t forget” — that idea of carrying the fire. The film “Life is Beautiful” is about arguably one of the most horrific times in modern history (perhaps even human history), and yet it manages to be uplifting even though terrible things happen and not everyone comes through okay.So yeah, I don’t want cloying “everybody’s okay and happy and nobody ever gets hurt” stories. I want “people get hurt but keep going, because as bleak as things are, there’s still something good out there to hope for and reach for” stories. :)

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