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My other books (as yet unpublished) are more aimed toward women readers.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?
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