I’ve written stories in the first person and, often enough, used present tense. It creates the illusion of telling as the events unfold rather than a retelling of past events. I also find the story’s internal audience more easily in the first person.

I encounter a bigger challenge envisioning my intended audience. Is it another writer? Or a certain genre reader? Or just my handful of friends and family who bother to read my prose?

I have a friend, Lola, who reads a lot of my stories as I’m developing them. She’s done this for me for many years. So, as I craft the sequences and dialog of a new story, I imagine her: a careful and thoughtful reader.

The editors where I submit my stories are almost exclusively themselves writers. I expect them to approach stories with a critical eye. To notice the structure, especially where it falters. And to expect pitch-perfect dialog. After all, they have a lot of wonderful submissions. They’re going to choose the best.

But what happens once the story gets into print?

What changes when the intended audience is broad?


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