I was thinking, as I often do — gets me in a lot of trouble, doing that — about all sorts of writing things. Recently, you may know, I submitted a short story to my writer’s group for them to heavily critique. It’s been some time since then and while I said I would do some major work on it, I’ve been holding back.
Well, while I agreed completely with all of their grammatical critiques, I was still bothered by some of what they said about the story itself. I know that a few posts back I said that I’d probably go along with what they said and turn it into a novel, but after the initial shock of the critique wore off I thought to myself, “it might not be finished, but why make it a novel?” I like short story writing, and I still feel that this story should be one.
Now, the second issue: They didn’t see the main character change.
I thought and thought about this one. Did my protagonist really never change? Was the tale pointless? I was feeling rather depressed after a few thoughts like those. Then, a few revelations hit me.
1) My group members want a happy ending.
2) I might be going too young with my target audience.
When my group members said that they wanted to see the character change, they were saying it from a very different mindset than myself. They assume that a character must change for the better in order for it to be an actual change. They wanted to see the protagonist overcome and meanwhile I was thinking, “but this is a horror, protagonists are usually traumatized at the end.” Okay, so it is true that I could work on portraying this trauma a little better but I am adamantly holding on to my “no real happy ending” mentality for this story.
Which brings me to the target audience. Alright. I admit it. I told them that the intended audience was a middle school boy and that was a big no-no. Why? Because, who wants their kid to read a story about another kid their age being killed by a monster? To be honest, I only told them that because someone else thought it was meant for a younger audience. A reader does NOT necessarily need to be in the same age group as the characters, and I was ignoring this fact for other people’s opinions.
So, I’m going for the audience that I initially thought of when I was writing this. Adults. Hah, take that. True, there are some changes I still have in mind but I’m going to show them what this story was really meant to be. It’s not some middle school boy’s adventure novel. It’s a weird tale, a horror, pretty much anything but an adventure novel.
Eat. Sleep. Read. Write. Repeat.