Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Remember Your Audience

By Darvell Hunt

Yesterday I ordered a hamburger meal from Wendy’s in the Houston, Texas, airport. The lady behind the counter, who seemed to have a mix of ethnicity in her blood, plus a Texan accent, spoke something to me after I got my food.

I asked her to repeat what she said. I thought she was telling me my order number so I could pick up my food. After the third try of listening intently, I just said, “Okay,” and moved down to the end of the counter, where I recognized my order. I grabbed my food and left to join my traveling buddies.

Sometimes when we write, there will be some readers who say, “What the heck is this guy talking about?” If you forgot to whom you are writing, this will happen a lot more than not.

I was not familiar with this Texan girl’s accent and I finally gave up on what she was trying to tell me. If that happens in one of my books, the reader will probably put my book down and look for something else they don’t find so confusing.

Having written entire novels to a small, niche market, I know this sort of thing can happen—and it can kill your chances of an acceptance. For my later novels, I have specifically thought about who my audience was to be, before even writing chapter one.

Remember your audience. It might make the difference between an acceptance and a rejection.

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