Monday, November 28

How To Tailor A Story To Readers

How To Tailor A Story To Readers


Usually we just want to write the best darn story we can, one that we love and—hopefully!—others will love as well. And it's a good bet others will. But perhaps you want to target your story to readers of a certain kind of story.

Which brings us to the other way of writing a story; namely, to find out what folks love and then write that kind of story.

A Few Questions


1. Which category do we want to target?


Let’s say we’re interested in writing a mystery story that features a British detective and that we’ve singled out the category:

Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > British Detectives

2. How many books do we want to examine?


We want to pick the most popular books that most closely fit the kind of book you want to write. Pick between 5 and 10. Buy them, read them, study them.

3. What to look for?


  • How long is the book? How many words?
  • Read the blurb. What elements are highlighted? Does the blurb fit the story?
  • Look at the cover. What items are featured? What themes in the story do these items reflect? Do the themes/items featured fit the story?
  • How many protagonists? One or two?
  • What point of view is the story written from? First, second or third?
  • If the book is written using the third person, is the narrator limited, omniscient or something in-between?
  • Is the pacing fast? Slow?

I’m not suggesting that anyone research a market and then write a book designed to sell in that market. That’s not an attractive thought for many, perhaps most, writers. And that’s fine. But there are many fine writers who have taken work as a ghostwriter, or a copywriter, or other area where one needs to be able to write to spec.

Even if you would never consider writing to a market, if you’ve written a story that you know fits a particular category, it might still be worthwhile to try and answer the questions in (3). Why? Because it will help you market your book to readers of that category.



Every post I pick a book or audiobook I love and recommend it to my readers. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I’ve loved with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, Amazon puts a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post. :-)

Today I want to recommend one of James Scott Bell's books, Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between. From the blurb: “Some writers start at the beginning and let the story unfold without a plan. They are called "pantsers," because they write by the "seat of the pants." Other writers plan and outline and know the ending before they start. These are the "plotters." The two sides never seem to agree with each other on the best approach. But what if it's not the beginning or the end that is the key to a successful book? What if, amazing as it may seem, the place to begin writing your novel is in the very middle of the story?”



That’s it! I’ll talk to you again tomorrow. In the meantime, good writing!

2 comments:

  1. Start in the middle? An interesting thought. I plotted my NaNo pretty tightly before I started but ended up leaping around all over the place, writing a lot of the middle then going back to the beginning and completely changing the ending. I think what I've ended up with is a bit of a muddle!

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    Replies
    1. Every single time I've finished a first draft I've felt it was a mess—and, certainly, parts (LARGE parts!) of it were. But I think, if you put it aside for a bit, that when you come back and re-read it, you'll see the story more clearly. If you're anything like me, your story is wonderful, you're just not seeing it at the moment. :-)

      BTW, I love John Scott Bell's writing on writing. Also, he's upbeat; encouraging. I actually met him once, at a writers conference! I had a 10 minute red pencil session with him. He's great! Very nice.

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