Writing for an ‘audience’

Posted by on Sep 28 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting, From the Writer's Desk

New age professional writers besides having to fight the uninterrupted melancholies of writing by the rules at work also have to confront an ever increasing urge to throttle the all knowing client whose creativity starts and ends with C for ‘convenience’. With microblogging becoming the mode of communication for the better part of the population online, professional writing is being relegated to the dusty corners of a yesteryear typist’s den.

The professional writer is realizing that his words are not just meant for reading and remembering anymore, they have to quickly enter through the reader’s eyes and sculpt a mini-second long nook in his mind while the second word is already shoving its way through after. Each word and the impact it creates lasts a nano-second in the brain before the reader unfailingly ‘moves on’. Like SMS breakups, the reader’s urge to move on is so strong, that you’re a self professed net-o-bard if you had the visitor on your page for more than a minute.

Writing is increasingly becoming like any other experience of today- good writing has to have an instant impact, great recall value and as direct as communication can be- the indulgences of reading, perceiving, analysing and then pondering are the luxuries of a few and chosen.

If authors can now write 140 character stories and create a dedicated network of readers following their work like gum on paper, your reader is obviously progressing to an experience of the ear. The aural delights of a piece of writing are clouding the visual (AND sensual) experience of holding a book and turning pages thanks to e-book readers/i-pads and other ‘they-that-I-don’t-want-to-name’. What stays is what you liked ‘hearing’- the sound of a word, the way the reader read it, or the manner in which the last syllable of the word wraps and snuggles into the word- case cited- try the word ‘mollified’- the ‘word experience’ is like you met a small kid in a polka dress that suddenly grew up into this clot of anger and lunged out at you. You’ll never forget this word if you remember how you heard it in your mind.

These were tricks that we played in school to remember new words- but the new age readers are following a very similar pattern in identifying content that they liked hearing or want to hear about, so the professional writer is combing through his vocabulary with the sharpest teeth to extract words that will have a sonorous experience for the reader. What will hold your reader back is not the macro picture of what you were writing about, but the micro of what you said, how you said it, and how did it ‘sound’. So now you’ll have opinions gushing galore- everybody has something to say- what matters is how you said it. A great opinion will lose to a ‘soundly’ put opinion- try posting a comment on a recent movie you watched and see what catches the maximum attention- your general opinion of the movie (the thought behind this opinion) or the words you used to describe it. While ‘cool’ will get 7 responses, ‘riveting’ will get you none- you must be kidding yourself if you thought that’s how one word movie reviews were described!

Play by the ear, to the ear and for the ear, because your audience which was once a reader, will switch channels right now!

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6 comments for now

6 Responses to “Writing for an ‘audience’”

  1. Isha

    @ shalini- interesting read; including an ever increasing vocab and newer lingo devised by the people also manage to please and attract the readers… A writer is always in a dilemma, whether to write aesthetically with the most accurate words or with targeted colloquial language. . .

    28 Sep 2011 at 5:39 am

  2. agreed. truly great writing appeals to all the senses.

    28 Sep 2011 at 7:18 am

  3. Sid

    @SHALINI – Though i would agree to a greater bulk of your writing, but the the ailing story of a writer still remains the same. Writers who know that puking out shit from the creative dens of their minds would never lead them to a soaring career in the future, ultimately have to kneel down to the “COMFORT” zone of the clients instead of their own. It is extremely necessary to understand the need of quality and you have rightly brought out such a wonderful insight to the need of following a quality writing in spite of all slit-throat deadlines that we often have to push our noses into. Every writer who needs to deal with the crucial times of their writing has to go through this write-up and pick up some inspiration from it!

    28 Sep 2011 at 9:15 am

  4. Shalini

    Thanks Sid, while you have to kowtow to the client’s demands and meet throat slitting worse-than-death deadlines the idea is to make the best of what you want to say in those moments of pressure- they say the most divine light comes at the end of the most exhaustive exertions-and with pleasure :)

    28 Sep 2011 at 9:39 am

  5. Mikhil

    I guess writing for the ear does rule the roost and readers do tend to get struck with selective hearing but the blog effectively surmises the method behind the ‘great opinion vs sound opinion’ standoff. Enlightening read.

    29 Sep 2011 at 12:08 am

  6. sonam

    very informative blog…enjoyed reading it.

    29 Sep 2011 at 12:12 am

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