Writing for the Me of Then

by Normandie Fischer, @WritingOnBoard

A few years ago, back in my full-time editing days, I gave a talk in Portland, Oregon, on “Writing the Crossover Book.” Today, I’d like to share what I consider my crossover reader.

I have friends who write only for one particular audience, the audience of their peers. But that has never been my goal, especially as my peers have changed just as I have over the decades of my life. Should I have written Two from Isaac’s House (first drafted in my early years) only for other twenty-and thirty-somethings after I first became a Christian? Or Becalmed and the other Carolina Coast novels—should I have written them to appeal only to readers of a particular age or belief system?

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Each of us has to find our audience and write as we’re led, but my intended reader has always been the me I used to be, not determined by my youth, but by my fears and longings and experiences. (Although the me I am watches over her shoulder.) That early me questioned everything and had no clue God existed outside of all that shouting from nature—you know, the sunsets and the sunrises, the trees and the rocks, the sea . . . oh, yes, the sea. That me was rather appalled by what I’d seen of church goers. Their behavior didn’t resemble their message, not from my side of the room. My atheist mother was kind and loving. Those other folk gossiped and judged and condemned. Some of them were racist. Some cruel.

“You need God,” the grandmother I barely knew once said. Well, if I did, he’d better not look like those pew-sitters or rote-spouters. A God who still parted Red Seas? Maybe. A God who transcended man’s inadequacies, who had answers for this skeptic? He’d have to be a whole lot more than what I’d seen.

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He was. He showed up and showed off. No, I didn’t turn into a perfect person, but I found a perfect God, one who hears and cares and delivers from bondage all who cry out to him.

I am my audience. The me of my twenties and thirties and forties and fifties. (Well, that gave it away, didn’t it?) The me who once questioned, who failed and still fails, and who has been yanked out of the mire again and again.

I don’t write for the ones who have answers, but for the ones who crave answers—even if they don’t yet know the questions. I write for the hurting and the broken—even if they don’t yet recognize their brokenness.

I write about the real, the pain, the guilt, even if some of my stories flit in frothy bits of fun as they chase what-ifs. I want my stories to touch hearts like mine. My voice is the me crying to be heard above the noises that would blot us out and press us down.

  • What about you?
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • How will you change your words and your story line to reach them?
  • If you are already reaching that audience, what feedback do they give you?
  • What would you do differently if you could start over?

I’ll incorporate some of your answers in my next post if you’ll be kind enough to share them here or with me personally.


Twilight Christmas

Two orphans. A big sister with Down Syndrome. And a community in need of miracles.

It’s up to ten-year-old Louis to protect Linney from the bad men. He knows what can happen to handicapped kids. He’s seen it before.

Only, it’s getting harder and harder to keep her warm and safe in this old storage barn as Christmas celebrations unfold around them.

And then there’s Annie Mac and her crew, who are involved in the pageant excitement. So is Lieutenant Clay Dougherty, her kids’ faux-father and the man who still makes her yearn for a whole lot more than she’s comfortable offering, especially when she’s plagued by crazy-making nightmares.

So many questions: Can Louis save his sister? And will Annie Mac find the peace she needs? What about poor Clay and the other Beaufort folk?

Normandie Fischer studied sculpture in Italy before receiving her BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Known for her women’s fiction—Becalmed (2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013), and Heavy Weather (2015)—she ventured into the realm of romantic suspense with the release of Two from Isaac’s House. In early 2016, a novella, From Fire into Fire, will continue the Isaac House saga. Normandie and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother. You can find Normandie on her websiteFacebook, and Amazon.