When I think about an audience for a piece, I think about not what I want to say, but what does someone who’s going to pick up this piece of writing want to hear? In business writing, it’s all about audience: it’s about connecting to them, respecting them, and most of the time, soliciting their input. In creative writing, most of this is not an issue.
But even as a creative writer, I think about all of these elements of audience. Because I’m not just writing stories, I am reading them as well. And as a reader, I want that story to hold my interest from the first page to the end.
- Connecting to the audience. This is all about knowing what you’re talking about. If you’re writing a sci-fi piece about an imaginary world, you’ve got to be able to see it to describe it. If you’re writing a courtroom drama or a detective story, you’ve got to research. And if you’re writing a romance, but you’ve never been in love, well. . .
- Respecting the audience. We don’t want to figure out the ending at the beginning. Have you ever read that novel that makes you feel like someone is holding your hand and leading you all the way through? Ugh. Annoying. Don’t insult your reader. If I want to read a kids book I will go to the kids section of the bookstore.
- Solicit your audience’s input. I hate fan fiction, but I love fans. And if you have fans in this very digital world, you know how they feel about you, your characters, and your story lines.
But more importantly is the valuable beta readers that are out there. They are like the test group for your material. Volunteer to be a beta reader, and find beta readers for your own work. They can give helpful actionable advice to make your piece of writing the best it can be.
For a creative writer, our audiences are our lifelines. Not just because they buy our books, but without them, we’d be talking to ourselves. . .well, even more than we usually do. 😉