Monday, January 9, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#44) --Determining Audience

How do you determine your audience for a story? At what point
do you decide if it's for mature readers, all ages, kids, etc?
Usually I have the luxury of already knowing that when I begin a story. By writing for an existing contract with a publisher, rather than writing to submit to any number of possible markets, that information is part of the deal with the publisher.

Usually, but there are times when it's not the case. So I ask.

There are times though when a story is for a publisher who gives me more free reign with my stories, such as New Babel Books (particularly for the iHero stories), and the audience is determined by what the characters tell me during the writing. For example, when I wrote the tale "Glissando," I started it as a fairly innocuous tale of a kid whose powers were pretty pointless, but as the story took shape, it became an angry story about a kid whose father left him when he was a child and it became a far more adult story in tone and in content because of the feelings that are tied to that type of hurt.

So the short answer is this: (1) The publisher tells me, or (2) the characters tell me. Either way, I don't seem to be in control of that decision much.