Your Audience in Professional Practice of Worldbuilding and Writing
It came to you in a dream. The thought of this setting was extremely exciting to you. The thoughts of adventure and prospect of others enjoying this setting race through your mind. You start writing down everything that you can spit out. Names, locations, ideas, it’s all there. You decide to share these ideas with your peers for their initial perspective on what you’ve made. They’re going to love it.
Or so you thought. “Yeah, that’s cool.” “It seems kinda interesting.” “Looks alright to me.”
Anyone in the line of producing art has to walk a fine line. On one side is the artist’s concepts and the “fairy cake”, or the driving ideas that build your world or creation. The other side is what audiences want to consume. Usually the audience has an idea of what they want, but that does not mean they are averse to discovery of new loves and interests. Ultimately whether you’re creating as a hobby or making art your career, there’s one thing that is the most important aspect in your process.
Connecting with your art.
Maybe you’re looking for a way to express yourself. In that sense, you’re connecting with yourself. Maybe you’re writing another entry into your incredibly popular book series. Your audience, both current and undiscovered, are going to need that connection as well.
Now, in the sense of a career in making art, you need people to be connecting with your material and engaging with you. In a practical business sense, you’re going to need to tailor and target your material to an audience, while offering something that differentiates itself from other products on the market. Yes, your art as a professional becomes a product, which in effect competes with a huge array of products already existing and being created for a market.
This is where some artists mess up. They make their art, blind to the audience that wants to consume it, and will wait for their big break to kick in. “Once I get discovered, this will take off,” some will say. There are few artists that will kick start their career this way. For the vast majority, it takes some grind and determination to get your art out there. Marketing it, tailoring your voice, sound, delivery, and most importantly connecting with your audience. Not a chance “big break”. In terms of worldbuilding, you can create a really original world and have some great ideas, but you’re going to need to establish a connection with the audience, and maybe even make some adjustments to the world structure in order to strengthen the connection.
As a disclaimer, I by no-means believe that making art into a business product is the only way to find success. What you want success to be is up to you, and there are many routes to get to any form of success. For example, if you’re worldbuilding as a hobby for yourself, then just creating the thing is a huge success. However, if you’re working on worldbuilding as a professional creative, you’ll want to take your target audience into consideration when building your world and story. Otherwise, the ingenuity of your work may be lost in the noise, lacking the connection with the people most important to the product.
As an artist, you can preserve your creative integrity either way, creating impressive worlds with depth and interesting perspectives. However, if you are doing this for a career, and you’re not being intentional about connecting with your audience through your art, then you may be missing a crucial step in your creative process.
Stay tuned for more writing from the WorldCraft Club as we explore worldbuilding and the crafting of fictional settings to inspire your creativity.
Jonathan Bell is a hobbiest and aspiring creative. He has taken part in writing several worlds, and running D&D games for friends and organizations for the last 5 years. Currently, aside from editing, writing, and appearing on Worldcraft Club, Jon is co-writing a supplement called Riverwalk based on wilderness adventures.
We’re happy to host guest blogs on here whenever we can, it gives James a break and let’s other people contribute their ideas. Let us know if you have a worldbuilding concept or strategy to get off your chest, we’d love to hear it.