Never Forget The Audience


Who are you writing for?

This is an important question when you write. Who are you writing for? What do you want them to get out of your work? How will they be affected by your work?

No matter what kind of writing you do (unless it’s a private diary hidden in a drawer under lock and key) there will always be an audience. It could be an audience of one reader or a theatre full of expectant folks waiting to hear your words. Writing does not and cannot happen in a vaccuum.

Writing is an act of communication.  It’s a two way street.

Many writers miss this point. They’re self-involved in the process – I must express myself. I must tell my story. When a piece doesn’t go well, they blame the audience –  They’re not smart enough, they don’t understand me, they don’t get what I’m writing.

Writing is most effective when the writer focuses outward instead of inward –   I must communicate my story.  There has to be an audience. And more importantly, there has to be a relationship with the audience.

Who do you see when you think of your audience?  

Do you have a specific type of person in mind? A specific group? We are in an era where writers can easily cut out the middle man and hone in on the specifics. Your audience does not have to be a nameless faceless crowd. You can converse via twitter. You can have facebook fans. You can start your own email list and talk to them directly. Gone are the barriers between writer and audience. But it also means there’s nowhere for the writer to hide for good or for ill. Gone are the days where the writer can just sit alone in their room banging away at the old keyboard and never give their audience a second thought.


Write a letter to your ideal audience member. How would you introduce your work to them?


Ask yourself…. how you doin’?

When you’re working on a play or any piece of writing there are some key questions you should ask yourself. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of writing it’s hard to think about why we started in the first place.

What do you want for your work?

By asking and answering some questions you can clarify and focus your goals for the piece. Knowing your goals can be extremely helpful during rewrites. I like to ask these questions after I have a first draft because then I can refer directly to the text and see if my answers are reflected in the text.

If I want my play to be fast paced and action packed, but my play has a lot of complicated scene changes, that’s an issue. Nothing slows down the pace faster than a lot of scene changes. If I want the audience to have an emotional connect to my main character, but my main character spends a lot of time talking in facts, statistics and dates, that’s an issue.

Answer the following questions about the piece you’re currently working on.

  1. What do you want the audience to experience during the performance?
  2. What do you want the audience to remember after the performance?
  3. What are you struggling with right now?
  4. What do you like best about your piece?
  5. What will your audience connect to most in your piece?
  6. Why are you writing this piece?
  7. What do you want to achieve with this piece?