Q: Do you write with a particular audience in mind?
A: At the risk of sounding self-centered, the first audience I write for is myself! If I’m not actually interested in the premise or I’m bored at any point with the story, then my audience is going to feel the same way. I want whatever I write to be something that I’d not just read, but reread over and over again from how much I connect to it. I think about how I would get invested in a story and find a way to channel that for the reader. That said, I don’t want to be self indulgent and only write for an audience of one. I want people to relate to it. To balance that out, I tend to write about a particular theme or experience that most would find relatable, but in a way that feels interesting or unique.
Storytelling connects us and helps us feel less alone. Whatever my protagonist is dealing with, there’s a high chance other people have dealt with it too. In the case of “Shortcut to Happily Ever After”, I channeled my own emotions about getting back into dating after a breakup, knowing that others have felt the same way, like the heartache over their last relationship or feeling jaded with their current options. Some might connect with the story after going through their own heartbreak. Others might feel inspired to get back into dating again. If even one person says this story helps them cope with their own dating experiences, then I’ve done my job.
Ben Wan’s story “Shortcut to Happily Ever After”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 7 April 2023.
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