Empathy and resemblance

Un libro es un espejo
A book is a mirror?

On sesion 17 of our Spanish-language podcast we discussed how resemblance generates empathy, while difference creates curiosity: two opposite poles that we can use to attract the attention of readers. Today I’d like to emphasize the first idea with several examples.

For example romantic novels have a mainly female readership, and indeed their protagonist is most frequently a woman. Of course there’s also always a male main character to complete the couple, but the true heroin is, in 99,9% of the cases, the girl.

Similarly, tipically masculine genres like trial or spy novels are always populated by cops, lawyers and soldiers – of the masculine gender.

But we find the most evident examples in cinemas. Aren’t the protagonists in children’ movies always children? Aren’t teenagers, in horror flicks? Or women, in romantic movies? There are exceptions -as with everyhing else in life- but the standard is clear, right?

I am aware that most of my readers don’t write genre fiction or with a specific audience in mind, but rather follow literary fiction and write for themselves. That’s why I won’t advice anyone to “think about your objective audience and try to bring your protagonist as close to them as possible”, even though I could say it – in fact I just have. Instead we can also apply the rule backwards: from your main character you may infer the main body of your potential audience. Such information can be quite useful, for example when deciding what contests or publishing houses to send the work to, or who among your friends and contacts can give you an appropriate opinion, similar to your potential real readers.

As often, just a topic to think about.

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Jesus (mac66)

Es un buen consejo. Como poco, una buena selección de a quién enviar tu obra te hace pasar de imposible de publicar a sólo improbable. De todos modos hay un buen montón de pequeñas editoriales que aún publican no por amor al arte pero sí con amor al arte y están dispuestos a arriesgar con jóvenes, y no tan jóvenes espero, valores.


Interesante tema, como todos lo que componen este blog. La verdad es que me encanta dejarme caer por aquí, escribir y leer los comentarios del resto de los participantes (espero que no se me tache de pelota por decir esto). Me suele suceder algo curioso con los personajes, y es que no necesito que tengan un perfil específico para identificarme con ellos. En mi caso, depende más bien del buen hacer del escritor que de la naturaleza del personaje en sí. También puede que se deba a mi forma de ser: No suelo prejuzgar a los demás, ni emitir un… Leer más »