Flash Fiction- Choosing Your Audience

Whenever people bang out written communication, they typically think about who exactly they’re trying to communicate with. Whether you’re typing up an e-mail to a friend, writing a letter, or scribbling down a memo to yourself- odds are a recipient has been pre-decided.

The irony is that most writers don’t have this degree of intentional-ity when it comes to their creative pieces.

If you’re writing as a hobbyist, you need not concern yourself with who you’re writing for: the answer is invariably yourself. If you have ambitions of becoming a professional writer, however, you’d do well to have a specific audience in mind.

Some people do this before they even sit down with pen in hand. They choose a publication, for instance, and write to the demographic that is represented in that publication. This may seem like a trivial step, but stop and think: won’t you write differently for a children’s book than for the Atlantic? Choosing where you plan to submit your writing to can help you easily determine who you’re writing for.

Other people write first, and then choose their audience. These people often have the romantic ideal of the story writing itself. Oftentimes, writers such as these like to let the muse take over, and they just try to stay out of the way. Once the work is completed, they choose the audience that they deem appropriate.

Do you fall into either of these two categories? Or do you fall into a different group? Let us know in the comments.

Also, have you entered our Spring Fever Microfiction Contest yet? The deadline is April 15th! We’ve had a steady stream of quality entries thus far. You could win $50 and be published online…why not give it a chance?

13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction- Choosing Your Audience

  1. I’m a total planner, but I don’t always have an audience in mind during the ideas stage. By the time I get to the first draft I’m usually pretty sure who I’m writing for though.

    Nice post – it’s good to reflect on the process!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it! Vladimir Nabokov once said that his characters were his “galley slaves,” and that he forced them into doing his will. On the opposite end of the spectrum is you- You actually go so far as to take advice from your characters! Great input.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m bad at planning. I love to listen to my characters and sometimes let them do things that made me raise an eyebrow. Now I do have an audience in mind, broadly speaking as I write MM fiction/ Romance but I can’t bring myself to follow all the rules. E.g cheating seems to be a no-no but if one of my MCs fancies an escapade, he’ll have it and that’s that. I know it’s not the mindset of professional writer who’ll sell lots of books but it is of someone who loves writing and does not want to turn the muse into a prostitute. 😀


  3. I try to keep the audience in the back of my mind, but who is the fiction audience compared to a non-fiction audience? If writing an essay or article, it’s easy to figure out. But with a fiction piece, sometimes I have an idea in mind but I can’t tell you who’s going to like this or that piece. Not long ago I posted a Bible-based story and found some surprising likes from non-religious or atheist readers.


  4. I use a mixture of both approaches.
    I write every morning, posting my successful pieces on my blog about four times a month.
    Recently I have geared my writing to short fiction, discipling my writing with self-imposed formal-structures, and word or syllable limits.
    When I consider submitting for publication I study the remit, if the theme is familiar or unspecified I often already have a piece that requires simple tweeking.
    When the remit incldes a specific theme I try to write new material from scratch to fit the remit.

    If I write every morning and keep the creative channels open, then the stories seem to write themselves.

    Bella Basura


  5. A very interesting topic and made me think. I do have an audience when I write but one that changes according to the piece. This is particularly true for fun pieces where I know he or she will surely get this and I can imagine the grin, the glint in the eye – that keeps me going. At another time, I had the urge to write a ghost story, even though i don’t particularly care for them. But my husband and son are keen ghost story readers and perhaps this was my attempt to create something that might appeal to them.


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