Writing For One Person

A standard piece of writing advice that gets tossed around is that you should write with only one person in mind as your audience. Write for that one person to enjoy your book and forget about everyone else. If you try to write a story that will make everyone happy, the story will fall flat. It will have no real direction or won’t risk enough.

The one person I wrote The Famulus (and the sequels) for was myself. My twenty-five-year-old self, to be specific, which was the age I was when I began this story in the fall of 2014. I felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. I wanted so much more out of life but felt as though the world wasn’t giving me a chance to prove myself. At the same time, I was worried I would fail any challenge thrown at me.

Aberdeen, the main character, embodies my fears and insecurities. She’s generally lonely, but she worries she can’t maintain any form of relationship due to a personality flaw on her part. It’s so easy for her to spend every evening at home with her books, but she knows she can’t do that forever without her whole life passing her by. She just has no idea where to start.

Half the first book is told from John’s perspective, so it’s no secret that he plans to use her. He wants to pass his immortality curse onto her, but he can only do that if she agrees. Convincing her to accept is his challenge throughout the series, as he doesn’t want to move too quickly and scare her off. He’s an impatient person, so this is a struggle. As suspicious as Aberdeen is of other people, she shouldn’t trust him easily, but she’s so desperate for anyone to show appreciation for her and what she can do that she’s willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Throughout the series, she grows in confidence. I have all the big events plotted out through the end of the sixth and final book. There are two ways the story could end. One way might not be true to Aberdeen’s character, but the other way might bend too many rules of the magic system, unless I leave careful hints along the way. Although John is the more dynamic and interesting of the two of them, my priority in the series is Aberdeen’s personal growth, and I need to keep that in mind as I consider how the series will end.

I plan to finish the edits (finally!) on books 2, 3, and 4 this year, as well as an unrelated novel you can read about on this page linked here, all of which I hope to publish before the end of the year. Aside from those novels, I’m trying not to write any new novel drafts this year, focusing instead on short fiction and doing some total rewrites on books 5 and 6. The Famulus is available as a free e-book across platforms. Links are on this page. If you read slowly, maybe I’ll have the second book available by the time you’re done with it!

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