As I think about writing or myself as a writer/author, I become more aware that I should give back to readers something for the time they invest to read my work. I place more effort into how I tie my words together. I read works by authors who knew/know how to write good stories to aid my writing development. I think about writing for my readers.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, for example, is a frighteningly repulsive story about an older man, the protagonist Humbert Humbert, who preys on a naive child he perceives as a “nymphet.” Lolita has a plot that includes pedophilia and murder. Though I feel a sense of guilt and shame because I could be perceived as encouraging such actions, I must admit that I love the writing because Nabokov spins a tale so powerfully appealing with suspense, pathos, puns—countless literary devices that the reader forgets that the protagonist is a beast.
Nabokov writes for the reader. He clearly expresses that throughout the book each time Humbert directs or speaks to the reader. Below are some examples from Lolita.
· "Now, in perusing what follows, the reader should bear in mind…"
· "The reader must know now…"
· "[The reader must] accompany us West..."
· "Oh, do not scowl at me reader..."
· "Reader must understand…."
He steals readers' attention with breathtaking scenes for readers to feel, touch, taste, smell, and see.
Nabokov escorts readers into a paradise of beautiful prose that keeps them turning the pages. He makes the readers enjoy the novel despite the actions of Humbert. Nabokov gives the reader an investment for their time and more.
Good writing takes time to develop, and writing for your readers is a skill. You should think of yourself as one of your readers while writing. Among other things, think about what readers would want to happen, how you think your readers would want to solve a conflict, and if readers think the story is believable. Write for your readers, not only for yourself.