Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writing For Women or Men or Both

I've been pondering audience recently.
My first published book, The Summer of France, has both a male and female perspective. It has a mystery and some historical details from World War II. It has a motorcycle/car chase, for goodness sake. That makes it appropriate for a man or a woman to read.
My other books (as yet unpublished) are more aimed toward women readers. I See London, I See France is about a woman trying to decide what she is outside motherhood. She is so overwhelmed with her children, ages 9,7, and 5, that she doesn't recognize what makes her happy any more. So the conflict is internal.
When her husband walks out one afternoon, she sells her minivan and takes her children to Europe to try to find the passionate self she was in her 20s when she studied in Europe. Her husband, of course, is angry that she disappeared with the kids and threatens to have her arrested and take the kids back.
A couple of writer friends have read parts of it recently, and one suggestion was to add an outside conflict to make the novel more attractive to men.
Of course, that seems overwhelming. Is she chasing something around Europe? Is she searching for something? Why can't she simply search for her real self, while trying to be a good mother?
Now I'm torn. Do I revise this book and add an external conflict? Do I keep it in its same form and label it women's fiction? Do I move on to another one of my novels that already has the potential for "action"?
What do you think when you read novels? Do men only like external conflict?


Lucia said...

actually something I'd like to do is just pack my bags one day and hop on a plane to europe! i'm not taking any kids though!

Delana@dujour said...

Paulita, I'm not a writer but here's my two cents worth. It doesn't have to be for men. And for that matter, really knows what they want? Your synopsis of the story speaks to me and probably thousands of other women. And that's worth a million male readers…okay, not a million. Your other books can have a "male" story line. But this one seems just right the way it is. I've often pondered this question. For instance, how to write a story about a woman finding her place without the obligatory love that should be the happy ending. Why can't it be just what it is….a journey? Good luck. I can't wait to read it.

Paulita said...

Lucia, You crack me up.
Delana,Your words are just what I needed. I think I need someone who has been a mother to read my book and give me some feedback. Both of my readers are childless.

Suzie Tullett said...

If you like the story the way it is, Paulita, then I'd stick to the original story line. From what you've said, it sounds like a good read.

If you're not sure about the story, however, then maybe you could brainstorm a few ideas?

Of course, this might not help with your audience dilemma. You might come up with yet more stuff for women to identify with rather than men. But at least you'll be happy with what you're writing x

Just Me said...

I'm also childless and not a writer but I can really relate to the story line. I tend to agree with the previous comments. My first thoughts are you should move forward with the book that is inside of you. Don't play it safe, access all the inconvenient parts of you that you've put away since your high school years.

I can't wait to see what you have to say.

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