Different Tastes: Writers and Readers

Not a golden-crowned flying fox but a spectacled flying fox.

This past weekend was the SCBWI 50th Anniversary Conference. Before the sessions started on Saturday, those of us from the Kansas-Missiouri Region got together. Our regional advisor knew that many of us woudn’t know each other so she had us introduce ourselves and then she asked a collection of fairly random questions that she credited to Stephen Colbert.

In my introduction, I told everyone that I’m working on a middle grade novel and find writing fiction to be much more difficult than nonfiction. Nicki agreed. Jess said that for her the opposite is true.

Among the questions she asked, Michele had us name our favorite smells. Then we named smells we hate. Someone named pine as a favorite. I listed pine and lavender as smells I hate. When questioned, I pointed out that they are two of my asthma triggers. I hate them because they signal trouble.

Then Michele asked about animals that freak us out. One of the women said, “Human-sized bats.” She showed us a photo that accompanied a newstory and I discovered that the golden-crowned flying fox has a wing-span of about 5 feet. It’s body is only about a foot tall. Most everyone thought this was far too big for a bat and that it is creepy. I think it is amazingly cool! I’d love to see one in the wild.

No two writers are just alike. Some of us find writing nonfiction much easier than writer fiction. There are those who create rollicking rhymes and those who rhyme only rarely and almost never on purpose.

And this is excellent news because no two readers are just alike. One grade-school-aged boy will love nonfiction about rockets and space exploration where another is all about humorous fiction like Hank Zipser.

Write, write and write some more. As you write, develop your voice and gain the confidence you need to write as only you can write. Those are the pieces that will catch the eye of an agent, an editor and your readers.


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