September 9, 2012

The Audience Is Always Fiction or Fictionalized?

So in reading "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction" the way Ong continuously referred to the audience as "fiction" didn't really agree with me. Yes, an author may never meet or speak in person to the people reading his work, but to broadly label all these unknown audiences as just fiction just seems like the wrong term to use. The audience may be unknown to an author, but there are always going to be real, living breathing people that define an audience, known or unknown. I think it would be better if this reading was titled "The Writer's Audience Is Always Fictionalized." For the most part an author will write with a certain ideal/message for his target audience and yes, he will be fictionalising things as he writes, but it will always be for an audience or even the idea of an expectant audience.

Ong said on page 10 that "It would be fatuous to think that the writer addressing a so-called general audience tries to imagine his readers individually." I disagree with this completely. In fact, I think that's exactly what some authors do. Why would an author not do this? An audience is author's bread and butter. Ong obviously had a certain audience in mind when he wrote this piece. He probably knew this piece was destined mainly for the world of academia. The prior knowledge of an audience and how you cater to your current audience when writing is what this piece is about. I think anybody who writes will always have some type of audience that influences their work, whether they realize it or not. Audiences can't always be a fiction.

1 comment:

rachel rivera said...

I kind of agree and disagree. Yes, it's ridiculous to think that the audience is fiction because you're always thinking of a certain audience but, at the same time, I disagree because when I'm writing, I'm never thinking of an audience member "in all their particularities." Maybe he just had a target: your target is a teacher because you want to pass and his target were the people in academia but not a certain person or, even, a particular set of people.

I don't know; I kind of talked about this in my post as well because I think it's an adopted habit: you're writing for an audience that you've adapted from writers you've read in the past whom have adapted theirs from writers they've read in the past.

What I disagree with you, though, is that the "audience is the author's bread and butter" because, in all honesty, sometimes writers really don't write with an audience in mind; they're writing just to write. I don't write for someone else to get pleasure from my writing (though it'd be awesome if they did) but I write because it's cathartic for me. Is my audience not fiction then?

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