Writing for an audience may be more important than you think.
November 5 Activity: Writing for an Audience
As you write your memoir, you will just about inevitably find yourself thinking of the audience that will be reading your memoir. This consciousness can be very important to your success. Today, you will make a foray into working with the concept of writing for an audience. You will experience how a sense of audience can both freeze your writing and open it up.
1. Share one of your lifestories with someone who was not a character in the story. You don’t want to deal with peripheral issues like a person who figures in the memoir saying “That’s not what I said!”
2. Either read your story out loud or give a printed text to the person(s). Don’t bother asking for “Did you like it?” Their response will probably be in the “making nice” range. Instead ask for responses that require analysis.
~ “Tell me what you understood about the character?”
~ “Was I as author too easy or too hard on myself as the memoir subject (or on the other-than-you subject).”
~ “What more would you have liked to know about the character and the situation at this point in the memoir?”
~ “What ‘rang true’ and what didn’t?”
~ “What questions remained unanswered?”
3. What surprised you in the responses you received? Rework the vignette as soon as possible after this session to address these issues. Keep in mind what worked so you can enhance that and what didn’t so you can eliminate it.
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