Critical Eyes of the Readers
The voice of a book is the narrative, or the way the writer speaks to the reader. There is not one kind of voice. As many writers as there are, that’s how many voices there are. Depending on the style of book too, can influence the voice. A technical journal probably wouldn’t have the same voice as a third grade reader. Or at least it shouldn’t have. You may find a book has an authoritative voice, a feminine voice or a demeaning voice. It could even have a mixture of any different voices.
For each book, the author has to find the voice of that writing, and then maintain it throughout the entire book. This article deals with matching your voice to the reader. The next will deal with how to find that voice. Before publication, books are usually reviewed by novices and experts on the book’s topic. This is good except that the book has to be written before it is reviewed. If it doesn’t meet the required standards it has to be rewritten. That is expensive.
If there was a way to have the book reviewed while it was being written it would save a lot of time and money. That would mean having the readers standing with you as you write. It might get a little crowded in your office, but it would be a great way to get instant feedback on what you are writing.
If you has three friends who you could trust to tell you the truth about your writing and they could be ready and willing to read whenever you were ready to write, that would be ideal. Well, there is a perfect way to get those critics there in your office without them taking up much room at all. Use your imagination.
You are going to imagine three very different, very honest people who are going to read along with you as you write. They are going to provide the critical eyes of the readers.
The three distinct personalities are: • The novice reader who knows nothing about your topic and who wants you to teach them something. • The expert on the topic is making sure you get everything right as he is a specialist in the field • The typical reader likes to look for things to complain about like inconsistencies and failed logic.
To make it easier to imagine your new friends, draw a picture of each of them, or find a picture in a magazine or online that looks like the image you have in your head. Cut out the pictures and place them around you in front of your computer screen.
Although it may seem a little silly at first, whenever you finish a paragraph, ask your friends to use their critical eyes to answer a few questions. “Does it make sense?” “Have I hit all the points?” “What do I need to do to make it better?” Do this aloud so they can hear you. Well, it’s actually so you can hear you. The more senses we use, the more of our brain gets engaged, the better we can analyze and the clearer we can see. This will get easier and before long you will be doing it automatically.
Uncannily enough, it will feel as if your three new friends are really telling you things about your book that you would have missed without their critical eyes.
The novice will ask you to speak plainer and explain better. The expert will want the details to be factual, and the average reader will keep you honest and on point.
It will be a juggling act at first to keep all three happy, but including some humor and patience you will get it done. This technique sounds a little “out there” and people don’t really talk to these imaginary critics, do they? Actually, this is a very effective method of critiquing work as you write that works, and a lot of really good writers use it. So, do you want to be a really good writer?