#2: You have got to keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. These can be very different
Story telling is fun, making up stories is even more fun. As a writer is it often easy to get caught up in making up something that you enjoy, that you understand personally. You must control this habit, always remember that the reader comes first. One of writers’ biggest strains is getting overly caught up in the detail and personal expression through the tale. The audience will look at it from their own perspective. In most cases unless the audience has the same interests and background as the writer they will find it difficult to get immersed if the writer overly complicates things.
Stepping aside, and thinking from the audience perspective makes the writer think differently about the presentation of the material. The same context and themes can be delivered in a way that is compelling and interesting to a reader, viewer or participant. By putting the needs and historical knowledge of the audience first the writer has to think more about how the story will be understood and interpreted. It is in the interpretation that the writer has a chance to weave elements that generate emotion and make the audience think more deeply. We all enjoy filling in the blanks and our brains are developed to help us visualise what should be there but isn’t. It is this “filling in” that makes the audience connect and feel stronger emotions whilst engrossed.
This is a fun game that illustrates this point to a small degree. How many Faces do you see in the image below?
This image is an exercise in controlling your perspective. depending on how you are initially set up you can either see half a face head on or to the side. Where is your reader starting from? what is their trained perspective?
It is this same effect that the audience experiences when you write with them in mind. They will remember parts of the story that have already passed and use the combination of those and the new elements to further the story in their own mind. In a digital and multi-media world, the reader might have been given background information or clues in a completely separate place to the main story. The computer games industry does this very well. In the gaming world there are back stories shared via online video and user groups, there might be fan created missions and levels that further an existing story or past versions of the same game. For the avid reader (participant) these are all part of the same story that they are acting out. For the author they are additions that must be considered. It is because of this effect that the author must above all else filter what is relevant and interesting to the audience. This ensures that the initial set up and on-going discourse will allow the audience to easily understand and connect with the story. It is when they can easily connect that a good writer has done their job.
The moral of this secret is to always be concise and connected. Give the reader what they need and nothing more, allow them to piece the story together themselves. Our brains are designed to “fill in the gaps” using all available media. Allow your reader to create their own variation of the story. They will feel more fulfilled and truly thank you for it.
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