How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Who is the audience?

Writing usually begins outside-in. The writer aims to communicate with a particular audience "out there." I call this commercial writing, and there was a time when I supported myself doing it.

But writing also can begin inside-out. The writer aims not to communicate but to make sense of personal experience, perhaps wrestling with demons. Artistic writing.

Any writer can do both approaches at the same time on different projects, but it takes a very good writer to embrace both in the same work.

The audience for artistic writing is the serious reader who reads for more than entertainment. The serious writer makes a leap of faith that such readers exist. Sometimes they can be hard to find.

It's a blessing, therefore, to hear from one, as I did recently about my short memoir:

"Have read Quilt 3 times. As memoirs go, have never seen its like: an elegant encapsulation of the interlaced pursuits of art and life. One could not do without the other."


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