September 7, 2015
Do you know who your audience is?
Do you like them?
Do you respect them?
Sometimes I find myself w reading a book where I want to stop and ask the author those questions.
I'm pretty sure I'd get a puzzled look from most of them. Those who do a particularly bad job of connecting with their audience often don't think about their audience at all.
It's like the teacher who looks at a stack of tests with failing grades and says, "I don't know how they did that poorly, I taught them the material."
The teacher may have said the material out loud - but they haven't taught it if the majority of the students haven't learned it.
There are times that an author or won't connect with their readers. The readers might be hostile. They may have been expecting something completely different. Often, however, the author hasn't taken the time to understand their audience, they don't really like this particular age group but someone told them they would make a lot of money selling to them, or they're pretty certain that this group isn't smart enough to understand the topic they're covering.
When you are writing, your readers will infer your attitude towards them.
There's an old Monty Python sketch in which an architect is brought in to describe how he would design a block of flats (an apartment building). He points to a sketch and describes how the tenants are moved along a conveyor belt past beautiful murals towards the rotating knives.
At this point the interview committee stops the architect and tells them that they were thinking of a more traditional building - not a slaughterhouse.
The architect is taken aback and says "Oh, I see. I hadn't correctly divined your attitude towards your tenants."
Your readers will divine your attitude towards them.
Write for people you like and respect.
Write for people you wouldn't mind meeting for coffee.