Picture Your Reader

Then you can speak her language.IMG_7508 adj 2to3

by Andy Scheer

Do you know your audience as well as you know the characters in your novel?

Many novelists keep character photos by their keyboards to help them bring to life Ashley, Braxton, Connor, Desiree, and the others in their story. They complete personality profiles and biographies for their cast.

Great practices. But do you also picture your target reader?

Yes, you want more than one, many more. But I’ll follow the advice of Jerry B. Jenkins, who suggests you write for one individual.

I hope you can see her as clearly as you can picture Ashley or Desiree.

Great writers can. Like songwriter George Gershwin. In the book Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin, the author quotes Gershwin’s friend S.N. Behrman about writing the 1924 hit song “The Man I Love”:

 “He told me once that he wanted to write for young girls sitting on fire escapes on hot summer nights in New York and dreaming of love.”

If you can picture your reader — her fears, her hopes, her dreams — maybe your book can speak her language.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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