By Joe Moore
Every writer has to ask this question. The more you can define your reader, the stronger your voice will be in speaking to him or her. Is your reader your neighbor or your co-worker? Is she the checkout lady at the super market or the bank teller at the drive-thru? What about a fellow writer friend? Is he your reader? It’s only natural to look at all these people and everyone else in your life as your reader. But you may be wrong to do so.
I believe that the chances of any of these people being your reader or target audience are slim to none. Yes, each one of them may share some of your interests, hobbies, tastes, lifestyle and background. But there are no perfect matches to you. Well, at least with the exception of one. And that is the answer to the question. Your reader is you. You are the reader to whom you should be writing. For in doing so, your natural voice will emerge.
Your voice is the storyteller that speaks within the imagination of your reader—the projectionist creating the mental movie. It is the direct link you use to communicate the story from the page into the mind of your reader.
If you consider yourself the primary reader of your story, you will naturally avoid over-writing, clutter, over-explaining, unnecessary backstory, clumsy dialog and excessive tags. Telling yourself the story doesn’t involve bloated exposition. Telling yourself the story will make for crisper, cleaner, easier-to-understand prose.
It’s such a simple technique, most writers overlook it. When you write for yourself, you don’t have to have much explained to you. Remember that your reader (you) knows what you know at any given point in the story. So rather than talking at the reader, you’re talking to him as you would yourself. It becomes personal, close, intimate, clean, sharp-edged.
You can’t be everything to everyone—there’s too much difference between you and the teller at the bank or the checkout lady. But if you consider yourself as your primary audience, your true voice will come through loud and clear, and all those other people will then become your readers.
Suspense Magazine called THE BLADE "One incredible suspense thriller." See for yourself at http://tinyurl.com/bdkjqr7