Imaginary Friends

By Dallas Beams, Electric Moon team member


How would you behave right now if you knew you were going to meet your ideal mentor next week; he or she looking directly at you, talking to you, listening to you? This thought occurred to me when I heard that the fantastical love of my life, Stephen King, was coming to town in a few weeks. I admire him so much, and not in the horror movie King (pun intended) manner, but in the Green Mile Shawshank Redemption style. The Body changed everything I thought I knew about character development and character interaction. The perfection that is the relationship between Teddy, Vern, Chris, and Gordie blew my mind… I digress.

The thought of meeting the mastermind behind three of my favorite novels makes my knees quake. As an author, I’d faint at the chance for him to look over my own writing.

In previous articles, I’ve given the reason I write, tips to help get your writing going, and writing resolutions for the New Year; today let’s talk about audience. In college, my professors pounded, pounded, pounded writing for the correct audience day after day.

Who is your primary audience? What kind of audience: professional, executive, friends? Does your writing require more than one audience? How knowledgeable is your audience about the subject which you’re writing? What concepts and terms do you need to define for your audience? Blah blah blah.

I, contrary to common thought, think they were very inconsistent in their teachings. It felt like every day my instructors were identifying a new audience for us to write to. So, I’d like to propose an alternative stance on the idea of ‘audience’. What if we weren’t necessarily writing to a specific group or person, but just wrote as if a certain theoretical person was to read it. A hypothetical mentor, if you will. Someone who’s writing you admire, someone who’s writing is what you aspire to be similar to.

Even if it isn’t the entirety of their repertoire, and just a few pieces they’ve written. Find that person who inspires you, who you’d want to be a hypothetical accountability partner to your writing--a muse and a mentor.

Who do you admire as a writer; even if it’s just a small characteristic of their writing, like character development or storytelling abilities. Imagine handing them your writing and anticipating their comments and critiques.

Visualize, say, Stephen King, reading each piece of your writing… my, wouldn’t that change a few things? Our words may develop more deliciously, our sentence structure may become more professional and our characters’ relationships may deepen.

With the help of a hypothetical mentor, we may become that much better of a writer.