6. Balancing Act

One of the biggest challenges a playwright will face is finding a sense of balance between what you need to tell the story and what the audience wants to hear. It is one of the most important questions you must answer as you discover who you are as a writer. Many of the new plays and movies I've seen in the last couple of decades spoon-feed the audience. TV fosters this. TV is a numbers game. The more eyeballs in front of the TV, the more they charge for advertising and the more money they make. There is nothing new about this as audience response was just as important in Shakespeare's day. Early in your career you write for an audience of one and that audience is crucial to your development. At some point you must find a larger audience, if you’re going to be a professional writer. My first draft is always for that audience of one. The challenge then becomes how to make my work accessible to a larger audience without pandering to them: I write for myself; I rewrite for the audience.

originally posted February 2012
reposted March 2018

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