Audience Expectations Are Running HIGH


Lots of authors I know expound on the concept that there is a “very thin line” between writing for yourself and writing for your audience. Every time I hear this I challenge that thinking. I’ve come to understand that there is NO LINE AT ALL and I suggest to my writing students (and clients) that they constantly weave the two perspectives together. This allows for authenticity to resonate within lives of every character no matter how many developing stages they pass through. It also sets the stage for writers to add the intrigue of unexpected reactions when the plot turns against a favorite character. C. S. Lewis wrote: “When we lose one blessing another one is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” This is an excellent writing perspective that enhances both Reader and Author expectations of exceptional writing.

cs lewis

Have you ever heard of an old theater drama called the Saturday Afternoon Serial? They were designed to leave their audience “dangling off a cliff” of excitement at the end of that Saturday film segment so they’d come again the next Saturday to discover what happened next. Often the writers themselves had no idea what might happen next—which is the perfect picture of writer/audience expectations woven tightly together. How did they do it?

FIRST—they had to know their characters inside and out—especially the odd, quirky things each character might do in a crisis. Wikipedia gives excellent definitions of the consistent characters audiences could expect to find in these mini-stories and if they weren’t there, the theater lost patrons. These character types exist in every book and film in existence. It is up to each writer to make them into unique individuals that today’s audience will love.

  • “The saddle pal or sidekick was the helper or assistant of the hero or heroine. That person was most often a bumbling comic or a more serious, steady assistant.
  • The brains heavy was the man (or, on occasion, woman) who issued the orders to his henchmen. He often wears a suit, and pretends to be an upright, lawful member of the community. He usually has little to actually DO until the last chapter except talk, snarl, grind his teeth in anger or grimace.
  • The action heavy is the assistant or second-in-command to the brains heavy who usually wore workmanlike duds, did the physical labor, and often had more brawn than brains. He went from one chapter to the next trying desperately to kill the hero with fists, knives, guns, bombs, or whatever else was handy at the time.
  • The oldtimer was the man that (a) owned the ranch, (b) was the father of the hero (or heroine) and often had a short film lifespan, as well (3) those who wore the badge of a Sheriff, Marshall, or Ranger.
  • The middle-aged and older performers who were judges, lawyers, storeowners, wardens, owners of the local newspaper, attorneys, judges, scientists, executives, or professors.”


Does any of this sound familiar in the books and films your reading/watching today? This is how Charles Dickens wrote the famous novel/film OLIVER. This is how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle developed the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This is how the TV “serial” LOST was written by J.J. Abrams. They are cliffhanger authors whose work has withstood the test of time—AS yours’ will—while you enjoy the process of weaving audience expectations together with your own. And, as you fall in love with writing like this, publishers and readers will fall in love with you! ⚓︎


RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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