40 Days of 3 Questions, Day 4

Welcome to 40 Days of 3 Questions!

For the next few weeks, meet here every morning with a notebook or document to answer three questions about writing, about your status quo as a writer, or about the writing life. You can answer briefly and go about your day, or you can use this as a warm up exercise before your regular writing schedule. Whatever works for you, works for me.

Day 4 Questions:

  1. When you write, do you think about readers?
  2. Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is  he/she like?
  3. What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you?

You may post answers in comments or keep your thoughts private–your choice!

And here is today’s pretty picture:

imaginary reader
This is a soul collage, but also my imaginary perfect reader. She looks nice, doesn’t she?

16 thoughts on “40 Days of 3 Questions, Day 4

  1. When I first wrote, I wrote for me. Now I think a LOT about my readership and what they want from me. I don’t know that I have an imaginary reader so much as a few real readers who have been so kind to write to me. But if I was to distill them to one target reader, I’d say she’s 60ish, well educated, maybe having a rough day or a rough year, and she wants me to entertain her and distract her from her problems. I also have a male readership too, and I think of them when I’m writing Pete. I want my guys to be proud of Pete and relate to his trials and tribulations (especially with Zoe!)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. 1.) When you write, do you think about readers? Yes, I do. I want the reader to enjoy the book.
    2.) Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is he/she like? She is very much like my oldest friend in the world. Curious. Compassionate. Whip-smart and funny. She is my muse.
    3) What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you? She wants an intriguing mystery with unpredictable twists and strong characters with real lives that she follow book after book after book.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I first began writing, I didn’t think about readers at all. I was demonstrating to a class of 8th graders the kind of writing I wanted from them. Later, I began to write more for myself and so my “reader” changed significantly. Eventually, I joined a writing workshop group and began writing for an outside consumer; someone who still resembled me in some ways but whose sensibilities were, perhaps, broader. I suppose my imaginary reader is a woman of a certain age who belongs to a book club. She is well-informed and participates in the world about her. She is well-read and will catch literary references. She is interested in a wide range of subjects and will follow intriguing knowledge trails on a whim. She wants a good story with strong characters. Sometimes she wants science fiction or history or well-written creative nonfiction. She doesn’t limit her interests but pursues whatever catches her fancy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think of readers before, between, and after writing (editing). During the writing process, most of the time I get focused on, and lost, in character.

    Subconsciously though, I’m always thinking of the reader. When I write I do my best to keep aesthetics bouncing around in the back of my mind . . . Lots of white space . . . Easy on the eye of the reader.

    To me, white space is the backdrop and words are the paint strokes . . . On the landscape of the page.

    Peace, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When you write, do you think about readers? Not years ago, but now quite a bit.

    Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is he/she like? I once did this exercise and found out my “perfect” reader is a lot like Kristopher Zgorski or Dru Ann Love. Mid-40s or older, educated, loves books and loves sharing what they read.

    What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you? Primarily entertainment, but if I provoke thought that’s a bonus. I think they want me to take them out of the “real” world for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great questions today! You made me think.

    ***When you write, do you think about readers?
    I always do. It’s very much easier now that I have some books published. I get feedback from readers and know which parts they like.

    ***Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is he/she like?
    Yes. She’s me. I can only write what I enjoy writing and what I would enjoy reading. So my readers have to be people that like the same things I do. I have male readers also, and that makes me happy, but I don’t necessarily write for them.

    Here’s a hilarious (to me) story. I addressed a book group in a small town in Texas, thanks to a good friend who knew people there. They had all read CHOKE, the first in a three-book (for now) series ahead of time. I headed up a discussion and one elderly woman, who had come in with the aid of a walker, said she didn’t like my main character because she was trying to learn how to be a private eye from reading about it, and you can’t do that. That is supposed to be one of the funny parts of the book and most readers get that. I paused a moment, then thanked her and said that it’s a good thing everyone doesn’t like the same things, because then there would only be one book.

    Later, in the car, one of the women told me why she didn’t like my book. She said the elderly woman’s husband passed away a few years ago and she doesn’t like any books without a lot of sex in them. Different strokes!

    ***What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you?
    I hope my reader gets a few hours of escape from the real world by entering one of mine, where things happen to keep them entertained and to keep them reading, but where, unlike in real life, things turn out well in the end.

    My favorite reviews are those that say the high points of the book are the ones I intended, and that let me know the reviewer gets what I’m trying to do with my writing.

    My favorite emails are those that tell me a book of mine helped them through a rough patch in life. That is exactly what I want to do.

    I’ll add that all of the above only applies to my mystery novels. My short stories are where I let myself stretch and explore and experiment.

    Sorry this got so long!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If I may add something to Kaye’s account of the elderly lady who didn’t like her book–As I recall, when someone offered condolences on the death of her husband, she said something like, “Oh, that’s all right. He wouldn’t let me read. Now I’m going to read as much as I want to.” They were married for more than sixty years.


  6. What great questions!
    I do think about readers. They are giving me the greatest gift anyone can give–their time. It’s the thing you can never make more of. I want their choice to spend time with my book to be worthwhile. I never want them to be disappointed.
    I have two imaginary readers: One is a woman who works and has kids. She pulls up to the soccer field ten minutes before the end of practice, pulls out her phone and starts reading my book. This may be the only ten minutes she gets to herself all day and it is precious. The other is an older woman by the hospital bedside of a parent, sibling or spouse who needs something to do while the patient sleeps. I’ve gotten enough emails and Fb postings from these two types of readers to know that though they are composites, they are, in some sense, real.
    I believe my reader wants to be transported out of their daily life to go on an adventure in a place they would like to visit with people they would like to spend time with, or at least know more about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When you write, do you think about readers? No. Why would I give away my power? If you write for someone else, it’ll be shit writing. After it comes out, I care about the readers. Editors and agents change the genre pretty often anyway.
    Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is he/she like? Hmm…these are dangerous questions. I just want one who will APPRECIATE THE HARD WORK, enjoy the story, buy the book. Readers are fickle. Why would I try to please a fickle person?
    What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you? I don’t want to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I read these questions yesterday my first thought was, what? An imaginary reader? What an interesting idea! Then I spent the rest of the day (except for the two hours I spent at a lecture about creating villians), thinking about how having an imaginary reader might impact my writing..
    So these are my answers when the questions arrived.

    When you write, do you think about readers? No
    Do you have an imaginary perfect reader? If yes, what is he/she like? No
    What does this imaginary perfect reader want from you?

    Since I liked your pretty picture, I thought about what my imaginary reader might look like, if I had one, and immediately I thought of one of my favorite paintings of a girl in a yellow dress reading a book, by JeanHonore Fragonard. I thien looked up woman reading paintings and discoverd a lot of paintings of women reading books!


  9. Do I think about readers? Yes. But first I think about myself.

    Perfect reader? My perfect reader was real, a friend who refused to put pen to paper but was the best reader I’ve ever known. She zeroed in on flaws and pointed them out like the businesswoman she was, no offense intended, and none taken. She was also my most enthusiastic cheerleader.

    What does she want? My perfect reader wants a good story. And my best effort, I guess.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s