Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In order to enter intimately into the emotional life of the story’s characters, it is necessary that you cultivate and play out a relationship with your audience. The answer to the question “who is it for?” is not “everyone”. It’s not even “the 18- to 25-year-old age group” or whatever other group you have in mind. A percentage or description of some faceless mob is creatively useless from a storytelling perspective.  To have any hope at all of entering the drama, you have to imagine and then address your audience, and, at times, become that audience.  But who, exactly, is one’s audience? Quite simply, it is that person who is fundamentally opposed to the thematic premise of what you are writing about. Audience is adversary, the writer's opposition - the person to whom the story is addressed, a person with whom you are on intimate terms, like your mother or father, your son or your daughter, or lover or the ex-, or some colleague who maybe saved your life once, but is antagonised by the underlying values or philosophy dramatised by the story  – some person whom you imagine is capable of being changed or moved or healed by the experience of the story you are telling; in short, someone who needs it. Effective, character-based storytelling is impossible without this intimate sense of audience – not as a demographic but as an imaginative act.
Billy Marshall Stoneking

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