Editors note: This post is a reprint from our former blog Bredkrums. Hope you enjoy it!
While out writing away from the chaos at home recently, I happened to read two separate articles that mentioned the same concept. Both articles mentioned inventing an imaginary reader to keep in mind while writing your projects (mostly fiction in this case). Why did they say this?
Know Your Audience
Both article writers said that instead of writing to just any reader or all readers, to instead narrow your audience to one specific person that you can make up. Having an imaginary reader of your work will help you focus on keeping your content consistent without surprising or frustrating your reader. They said this also helps you focus on your specific audience, not to the masses. And it may improve your writing to know who exactly you’re writing for.
So, after reading these articles, I decided to make up an imaginary friend or a “reader” from my audience.
My Imaginary Reader
Naomi is a stay-at-home mom, 30, with two kids under five. She has an Associate’s Degree and would like to get an Early Childhood Degree when her youngest starts school. She is happily married, is a great mom but goes to bed exhausted every night.
She likes to go out with her friends for a movie and dinner or a night of scrapbooking. She loves her kids and takes them to the zoo and the park often. But her busy life leaves little time for fun reading, but when she can, she likes to escape in a good romance novel without swearing or anything to make her blush. Sometimes she buys an e-book, but she still loves turning the pages and using one of her many collected bookmarks.
Naomi and her kids go to the library almost weekly, and she checks out more books than she can find time to read. But she can’t help herself; it’s like being a kid in a candy store. But she loves free reading and thus is one of the library’s best patrons. She also finds books at second hand stores or yard sales and when finished with them, donates them to the library. If they can’t use the books in their system, they will add them to their quarterly book sales. It’s a win-win.
How This Helps You as a Writer
Now when I sit down to work on my novels, I have a person in mind and know that I can’t say or write certain things to disturb Naomi or jar her out of the story. It’s always the writer’s job to keep a reader reading and not make her stop. Having Naomi in mind will help with that considerably.
Naomi will help me stay consistent and keep me true to the plotline without deviating or going off in directions that won’t satisfy or make sense to her.
Who is your imaginary friend? Have you ever thought about coming up with a specific reader? We would love to hear about him or her! Please share in the comments.