Know your Audience

Published Friday, November 13, 2009 10:07 AM
A key part of writing is knowing who you are writing for. Many teachers of the craft want you to consider the group that you want to read your material (age, gender, interests). This can help you establish the right tone and craft a believable voice because you are talking to a specific people and not just typing into a blank document. I like to take that to the next level, though, and its why I belief the dedication pages of books are more important than they seem.

Over the summer, I listened to a lot of audio books while working and one of the first big "reads" I tackled were the unabridged recordings of The Lord of the Rings. It began with a forward from Tolkien stating that when he was writing the Two Towers he sent chapters in a serial form to his son who was serving with the RAF in Africa during WWII. A letter is the form of writing with the most direct audience, one person writing to another and Tolkien writing for his son produced some of the most profoundly moving material of the series.

Inspired by this, I've taken up the task lately of writing a short story specifically for my wife, a story intended to please her and using the devices I've seen her enjoy in a books and movies. It is also my intention as I work on that novel I mentioned awhile back (several chapters are done but need to be rewritten) to write for my brother, who has very high standards in books. It will take very good writing and one hell of a story to get and keep his attention.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm a science fiction writer starting at the bottom.

by DMI
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