Ruth Marlene Friesen: Welcome!
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the heroine of my novel,
Ruthe's Secret Roses
Ruthe is . . .
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prays a lot,
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a big sister,
has creative ideas,
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An Older Sister's Coping Secret
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how to share your faith
To Which Reader Are We Writing?
© Ruth Marlene Friesen
As a writer we need to decide before we write, whom we are going to address The very same message we want to convey will change in slant once we know to which reader we are writing.
Are you a writer too? Then you will know this dilemma as well. So often before I write a letter or article or a web page, I must stop to ask myself, to whom am I writing this? There are a variety of answers, and each one indicates a different style of writing. What I say and how I say it all depends on who my reader will be.
Should we have a writing style ready to use for these other types of readers? Do you have several styles or slants ready for different readers?
The Antagonistic Reader
If that reader will be someone who thinks I'm wasting my time and won't amount to anything, I'm much more careful not to reveal too much so that person will not have ammunition with which to throw mud at me. I may, if the situation allows for more than a cursory greeting, slip into a defensive mode. A subtle desire to prove that I am, after all, worthy and doing respectable things, just seems to ooze forward.
(Do you suppose I should think this through and plan a more objective approach?)
Oh dear, what shall we write to those who are closed off and critical? How about as little as possible? Let's only say or write things to give such readers a gentle healing touch, and wait for them to come around, rather than to pick a fight.
The Critical Reader
If that reader is like a critical in-law who can see dozens of ways I should improve, I can close myself off, and focus only on the negative other person I am communicating with. Hopefully, she will begin to think I am the most wonderful listener she's met.
A fantasy? Not for the right motivation? But I confess, that's my way of putting up a shield around myself. I'll admit, this is area I need to work on.
There are times we need to be on the defensive, but that doesn't have to be from a cowering stance. Sometimes we do need to lay out the reasons for something and quash any resistance and negative intervention with a clear presentation of our view of the facts. The advantage of writing to such readers, rather than speaking, is that we can work over our written article or piece to make sure it presents our facts in a fair and strong way without picking an unnecessary fight.
The Amused Reader
If that reader is like Clarence, a man in Ontario, who was amused at me - (my talking so fast and nimbly tickled him so that he hardly heard what I was saying), then it is harder to say much of anything that is serious. I don't normally think of myself as having a huge sense of humour, but I can become playful in what I say or write, when I know people are in such a frame of mind. If they get me in a giddy mood I can be quite witty. For a short spell.
Tell me, do people who think you are cute or funny, bring out some humour in you? Do the things you say get little laughter curlicues on them?
Again, I sense I have room for development in this area.
We better get some humorous stuff ready for those that are easily amused. I confess I have nothing stashed away for this kind of reader. I must make an effrot to get some lightness worked into my articles and writing style. I like to avoid offensive, sarcastic humour, but I will make an effort to get more playful and light in my writing. I think everyone would appreciate that, don't you?
The Adoring Fan Reader
Ah, but if that reader is one who adores my writing, likes me, and wants to know every detail about me - oh, what a difference! Suddenly I can tell all kinds of things about myself and I see myself in a different light. My self-confidence shoots up and I grow more and more talkative as they give me feedback. My writing flows.
What exactly should we be saying to those who adore us? We don't like to hear or read others brag on themselves, so what's a more proper response? Maybe we could give them a brief summary of our life or profile to satisfy their initial curiosity, but then, since most people like to talk about themselves, we can turn the table and begin to ask them questions about themselves. Just think, they will love us even more for that! And - we might get good fodder for our next story or article.
The Sympathetic, Understanding Reader
If that reader will be another Christian who understands my impulses and ways of seeing things, my writing will be much more natural and open-hearted, with thoughts and ideas flowing freely without a need to screen much of anything. It is easy to give them credit for understanding my viewpoints and topics.
Think about it. You probably do the same thing in your contacts with people, even if you haven't stepped back to analyze it, right? If you smile at strangers they usually smile back - have you noticed?
My favourite reader then, is this last one, and generally when I'm not exactly sure who my readers will be, as in my RoseBouquet, I like to give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them like the open-minded Christian sister or brother until they prove otherwise. Therefore, my usual writing style is friendly and chatty. That makes for a good article or story pattern, to my great satisfaction.
Does that help you with your writing slant? Do you have a uniquely different approach for another reason or type of reader altogether? I'd love to hear about it.
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