Objectivity and Distance: What experience are you giving your reader?

cheusepromoWriting is a very insular activity. We ask writers to write in solitude, spend hours alone contemplating their thoughts and their story.

However, there comes a time when you need to give yourself some objectivity. Can you take a break from being the creator and pretend for a moment you are a reader without insider information?

Writers have a lot of pressure to deliver a manuscript that is true to their integrity and a great experience for their reader. Whether it’s an agent, editor, or the mass market: Will your reader be entertained? Will they learn something about the world or themselves? Will they enjoy this book?

Intentional or not, writers are providing the reader with an ‘experience’ I like to call it. You are inviting a reader into the world you’ve created. You need to make sure it’s a whole and comprehensive world that readers want to spend time in. It’s hard to see this sometimes when you’re entranced in the writing process. But at some point you need to take an objectivity pill and stand back to evaluate whether you’ve given this meaningful and entertaining experience to the reader.

Questions to ask yourself for objectivity and improvement: Continue reading Objectivity and Distance: What experience are you giving your reader?

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How are you contributing to your genre?

As an aspiring writer your goal should never be just to get your work out there, but how to get interesting media coverage, stand out in a bookstore, turn heads and have ears perk up. Each genre has tropes that are expected, but to break into mainstream publishing you also need to have your own spin.

Zone One‘s Colson Whitehead said: “If you’re writing a detective novel or horror or sci-fi, you want to expand or reinvigorate the genre in your own little way.” And I think this rings true for all genres. What are you trying to do that’s different? How are you contributing to your genre? How are you helping to move your genre in a new direction?

Great examples of this are Zone One, The Tipping Point, The Sisters Brothers, Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Wolf Hall, The Prague Cemetery, and The Stepford Wives.

Continue reading How are you contributing to your genre?