Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Writer's Audience

In a comment, Jamie says:

"I would contend that all writing is for an audience. Even private diaries, where the audience is the writer himself -- or, perhaps, the audience is the future. I think a writer always has to be mindful of who his audience is, or the work will suffer. (That's a long discussion, maybe best saved for another time.)"

No time like the present, Jamie! And since it IS a long discussion, I have given it its own thread.


  1. Bust-ed.... ;)

  2. LOL Joe!

    I guess the first thought I have on this subject is one that would appear obvious, but that a lot of writers miss. (Including myself, from time to time!)

    Rule One: You can't assume that your audience knows everything you do. Along with that, you can't assume that your audience will "get it" just because you do.

    There are plenty of ways in writing to convey information, a myriad of ways you can work on an audience's perceptions and reactions. For better or worse, telepathy and osmosis are not among them.

  3. I am intrigued by your comment that there is always an audience, even when the writer doesn't intend it. As a kid, I used to imagine that one day, after I die, someone would find all my papers and publish them. I don't think that way anymore, but perhaps I should.

  4. It reminds me of a sermon that's stuck with me all these years. It involved a parable about a guy who, unsure how to talk to God, started telling Him stories about his experience. "He likes stories," the priest said. (I guess, at an early age, I must've taken that to heart.)

    My experience has been that whatever you write, sooner or later, a different person reads it...even if it's you, with new eyes. In high school, I once read a note that I'd written a few years earlier. I recognized my own handwriting, but not the guy who wrote it.

  5. I love the sermon. God likes stories. Good thing, since we humans can't seem to stop telling them.


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