Picking out your audience

As I wrote last week, it’s important to know your audience – their vocabularies, their interests, their attention spans.

Recently I’ve come across a couple quotes about audience that I love enough to share here:

“I believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try to make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful. Then you write for who you love whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Sometimes when I write, I’m just writing to tell a story, with just a general audience of I-don’t-care-who.  And sometimes I have a particular group in mind, and sometimes I’m aiming my story at a specific person.

When you write, do you write for a specific person or target group, or are you writing just to write?

As a reader, can you tell if a story is targeted at a specific group?  If you’re not in that group, do you keep reading?

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