What Reading Levels do you write for?

question

#41

As to an answer to the original question… quite hard to tell.

What I’ve learned over the years is that, while personal vocabulary grows, it gets harder to judge what kinds of words are ‘difficult’. English being the second language, this is even worse, since words that now seem very simple may prove to be surprisingly difficult for others.

What comes to themes - well, at the core the stories reach deep into the philosophy, but on the surface there’s variation, some are somewhat weird and esoteric in nature, others simpler, though never ‘simplistic’.

The perfect balance would be like chess, I think: easy to understand rules, hard to master the game, as in, when it comes to writing, easy to read and understand on the surface level, but hard to get to the ‘bottom’ of it all.


#42

Can’t say I’ve given it much thought until now. I wasn’t (and I’m still not) particularly old when I first started my novel at 20, and I was even younger when I began to built upon the concept of said novel at around 16 or so, when I had deviated from the influence of Shonen anime and developed a greater interest in speculative and philosophical works of fiction. Before that point, my works appeared to cater to readers between the ages of 13-16, albeit they tended to be uncharacteristically violent since I thought that was cool back then.

From between the ages 16-18, my stories, whether they were manifested on paper or within an indie game, were made to cater to audiences quite a bit older than myself. I had moved away from visceral, non-stop action and aspired to captivate readers with mature themes (nothing overly gratuitous in execution), dynamic characters and thought-provoking storytelling; although I had yet to do away with needlessly pretentious prose to increase reader accessibility (had to look intelligent SOMEHOW). I’d say my work back then mostly catered to young adults.

While still replete with philosophical and abstract undertones, my fictional works of today are comprised of far more accessible vocabulary and maintain a simple plot on the surface for readers who either can’t or don’t wish to delve into its more subtle offerings. In other words, I strive to write stories that can be enjoyed at face value while rewarding those who the take the time to analyze every word closely, so-to-speak. Nevertheless, because I’m a comedian at heart, my stories never take themselves too seriously and offer lighthearted and comical moments where the reader would least expect them. While I don’t write with any particular age group or gender in mind, I believe my work is best suited for more inquisitive readers who may belong to any gender or age group and aren’t too squeamish about the occasional severed head depiction here and there. Because my Wattpad novel, along with most of my other works, suffers from a nigh-absence of romance of any sort, I was actually surprised to see that it was apparently more popular among women than men, although that may simply be due to the uneven population.


#43

Have you ever thought of tweaking your subtitle?

Maybe swapping in something else like -

A saga of obsession, betrayal, and love

Or - Years of obsession…

Or - A life of obsession…

Or - A family of obsession…

I feel like these words hint more at the scope you’re working with. Since most thriller/mystery novels happen in a tighter timeline, by removing the word “novel” and clarifying it just a touch more, it might serve you better.

Just food for thought.


#44

In eighth grade, you’re typically turning 14. Sorry if this reply is really late and your question’s been answered, I just stumbled into the conversation and the bell’s rung, so I gtg


#45

It’s more because 3rd person omniscient is not a POV you should write in anymore. I love Tolkien but his books are hard to get through, and I teach English.

Kids today are different than when I was a teenager. They have different pressures and issues. (you know technology) Yes the classics are still taught in school. We do 3 Shakespeare plays, The Crucible, Great Gatsby, Beowulf, Antigone and more.

I use YA books in my reading classes because I teach struggling readers and I need something engaging so I can teach them how to read a book critically. So I use Tears of a Tiger, Monster and Speak. I also pair them up with news articles that deal with the same themes such as race, justice, depression etc. This year I have time to do 12 Angry Men as well.

Maybe if teachers had more time for teaching and had to spend less time with test prep we wouldn’t have these kinds of issues.

One more thing before I get back to work on my book. Here are the themes in each one of the novels I teach…

Tears of a Tiger: Race, Guilt, Life & Death, Relationships and Actions & Consequences
Monster: Race, Justice, Appearance vs. Reality, Actions & Consequences
12 Angry Men: Justice, Bias/Bigotry, Perseverance
Speak: Communication vs. Silence, Appearance vs. Reality, Isolation loneliness and depression, family and friendship, memory and trauma.
Speak also has the following symbols: Plants, blood, water ice and melting, mirrors, Melinda’s closet at school, birds, warmth and sunlight and lips

My book is a YA book and it’s written from the point of view of a 17 year old, so the language isn’t super complex.


#46

I’ll think about it, but it’s not years or a lifetime or a family obsession - and the character with the obsession regains control of herself very quickly (while allowing how affected she has been), by realizing a whole bunch of things about her life that made her a prime target - and knowing she’d be sharing with millions of women; that puts her off it, “I don’t share.”

Since I own all the pieces, I can tweak the original; I can also look for something slightly different for Books 2 and 3. The story, like Gone with the Wind, was meant to be a single story; there are only hours between volumes, and no story break. But Createspace couldn’t handle a book that long.

When I get closer to finishing PC2, I’ll be in a better position to think about it. Now, I’m just drowning in details of this cross-country move that must be dealt with every day.

Thanks for your thoughtful response.


#47

My novels aren’t either, but for some reason…everyone is having such a hard time understanding and comprehending them. It’s like–suddenly–using your imagination in fiction is now criminal and you can’t explore any themes you’d like to see explored in your novels because the online community has such an adversity to them.

I mean, my debut novel for example, deals with a lot of issues–mostly relationships, friendships, bullying, and the consequences of each, but it’s been hard to convince people the validity of such a project.

I haven’t even touched based on what my current–and future–novels in the saga are about. It would scare most people straight–because they’ve gotten so dark.

And I normally don’t do dark themes. lol


#48

I tent to target young adult for my current WIP, maybe from 15 to early 30?

Since English is not my first language too, so I can’t really write complicated prose.


#49

Good for trying to write in another language. I have trouble with my only one. :smile:


#50

I’m too still struggling on the grammar :joy:


#51

I’m not sure that the problem is that readers don’t comprehend your work so much as it is that they don’t comprehend what you want them to. Sometimes this happens because the reader truly isn’t prepared for the work, which is the case with a lot of niche books; there are more misses than hits simply because the content of the book is designed to appeal to a particular individual or group of individuals. But, based on what I’ve seen of your work (Codename: Velocity), I believe that the problem lies on your (the writer’s) end.

Not only that, but the problem lies less within the range of ‘these themes are too complex’ and more within the range of ‘these themes aren’t presented in an understandable way’. Your book isn’t that complicated (and I don’t mean that as a bad thing, I’m all for a straightforward action book). Just from the blurb I can completely understand where you’re coming from when you say the book deals with relationships, friendships, and bullying. But your story also lacks the basic quality needed to be even an ‘okay’ book. You make amateur mistakes that convolute your story and pollute the message you are trying to send. I don’t mean this as an attack, I’m just saying that your story needed more work-- you needed more practice, before publishing. And there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s a stage we all go through.

Anyways, my point is, people don’t struggle to understand your stories because they lack imagination or the ability to comprehend the themes you present. They struggle because your story just isn’t written well enough yet. Maybe, once the series is finished, you can go back to the start and use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained to transform your work into the story you truly want it to be. But for now, it isn’t there yet.


So today was hard in rehab. Any news? any Drama I missed?
#52

Well this has got to be the most respectful straight-forward critique I’ve ever seen. We need more people like you on this site.


#54

spockreally


#55

Grammar is a tricky beast to master. If you want to improve on it, find a good grammar book for grades 5-8. That will help you out a lot. I teach English and still make mistakes from time to time.


#56

Whoever can read it, hahahahaha.


#57

To whoever understands my writing.


#58

This is a tricky one for me to answer, because I consider myself an Adult/New Adult writer. But I’ve had people judge my work on the premise alone, without really reading the book in question, assuming I was writing Young Adult.

Which is a hell of a lot better than someone assuming you write middle grade: which I do, they’re just not about Southern Urban Outlaw who is executed for murder, and everything that happens after building up to that point.


#59

Last time I looked at the stats on my stories, about half my readers (those who state their ages) are 45 or older (I’m 32). No way to tell about the other half, but I suspect they’re in their late 20s or 30s.

While I write in a fairly plain style, there’s enough complexity to appeal to people with well-developed reading and comprehension. That same quality is likely off-putting to young readers looking for easy entertainment and identification with the characters.

At times, I’ll put in something rough and edgy that I know will drive away certain readers, whom I shall not characterise. There’s plenty of stuff calculated for their tastes on WP, perhaps even a surplus.


#60

Agree with the second bit, but 3rd person omniscient is a tool to be used, like a nail needs a hammer and not a screwdriver! XD


#61

The problem with that POV is that it puts an emotional buffer between the reader and the action. You can certainly mix it in with 3rd person limited with great success but I would never write a whole book in 3rd person omni.