Much like deciding on a theme and a final climax in advance, I find that remembering the answer to this question helps my writing stay focused.
Who am I writing for? First and foremost, I write for myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is true for all writers. We have something so huge and important bursting from within us, we are eager to give it shape in the form of a narrative.
But once in a while we all imagine another person reading the creation we’ve so painstakingly slaved over. And each of us has the perfect reader in mind, the kind of person with whom you would treasure talking about your novel. Your book will give this person an “Aha!” moment, igniting a spark of understanding to an unanswered question.
My ideal reader is me at a younger age, back when I was still searching for myself. A book like Travel Secrets would have been exactly what I was looking for: An empowering tale of personal growth via a fun, romantic journey (using the word “romance” in a sense that the heroine strives to be the best version of herself).
Here’s a picture of me at fourteen, right before the punk phase. Underneath the tough attitude is a fragile soul that has been bullied for over a decade, and whose secret desire is to find a way to be happy in this life. What kind of answers she would have found in my novel? I think I will leave that for another post.