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Science Fiction Writer

My name is Nancy Kress, "Hard SF" writer, often about genetic engineering, winner of six Nebulas and two Hugos

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  • Do you write for a specific audience? Why or why not?

    Authors typically write for specific audiences, or at least they're often told they need to. Who would you say you target with your writing? What do you do to ensure your target audience remains hooked to your writing?

    Nancy Kress's avatar image.

    That is a more complicated question that it appears at first. I am not writing for a specific audience in the sense of a segment of readers, but I do have a specific person in mind when I write. However, it would be very difficult to define this person. I guess the best and closest definition is that she is a lot like me. She likes to read what I like to read. The way that I think about writing for an audience is this: how will this person who is reading over my shoulder receive my story as it unfolds? In other words, I have to choose the right elements in the right order - a line of dialogue, a bit of description, cetera - that will translate the picture in my mind to a picture in her mind through the medium of the page. In a sense, writers become schizophrenic, because they are two people at once: the writer and the reader, the creator and the audience. With practice this becomes automatic, but when I first started writing, it was very much a conscious effort of will.