I stumbled upon this quote on the internet from J Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5) the other day, conerning the demographic for which he writes.
Just dialed in here…demographics are a dirty word where I come from. Basically, I write the story that I would like to see as a viewer. If my tastes reflect that of others, folks watch; if not, not.
This is how I’ve always written, all the way back to when I began in animation. “This would be a cool story.” And that’s the be-all and end-all of it. Same with everything else.
Back a few years ago, I was looking for a particular kind of horror novel. Couldn’t quite find what I wanted. So I sat down and *wrote* it, wrote the novel I wanted to read. Finished it, and shoved it in the closet for, I think, about two years. One day, my agent suggested I really should write a novel someday. Reluctantly, I dragged it out of the closet. Gave it to her. She gave it to a NY editor, who sold it to the first editor who got it. It really wasn’t written for anyone else but me; had it stayed in the closet forever, it would’ve accomplished that task.
I take that approach with everything I write; if I wouldn’t watch it, I won’t write it. So, basically, my demographic is me.
I began to think that I am pretty much the same. The demographic that I write for is myself, and it has never occured to me to be any different. Of course as an ameteur hobbyist I have that luxury. I wonder, are there professional writers out there that target a demographic because it is likely to be succesful – such as “I’m going to write a book for teens because they are selling very well at the moment.”
I wouldn’t necessary blame somebody for this, because as a professional writer they have to make a living, but I think that would suck a lot of the joy and creativity out of the process.
It seems to me that if you are not writing something that you would read yourself then you’re not being true to yourself as a writer.