Know Your Reader; Kill Your Darling!

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My husband and I had dinner tonight with a friend of ours who happens to be a brilliant scientist.  He recently invented a machine that makes seeds germinate faster and another that converts waste into energy.  Throughout our meal, he described with great enthusiasm and detail how he isolated the radio frequencies in the seed germinator and figured out how to extract every molecule of reusable material without off-gassing in his waste-to-energy device.

My husband gushed as soon as we were alone in the car, “I really wish they lived closer.”

‘They’ refers to our friend, the scientist, and his wife, an artist and life coach with a talent for palm reading and astrology.  She talks about angels like they are close, personal friends of hers, and uses words like chakra, karma, meditation, and astrology in casual conversation.

I said, “I really wish (friend’s wife) could have made it.”

My husband could listen to the scientist talk all night about machines.  Would happily shadow him every day just to see what he’ll invent next…maybe just to watch him think.  On the other hand, I need only minimal detail about the seed machine or the recycling device to be impressed or to draw the conclusion that our friend—or those like him—will solve the world’s energy crisis.  While my husband is trying to crawl into his brain, I find my attention wandering to the couple sucking face at the bar and my sadly empty wine glass.

Our differing experience over dinner was such a great illustration of the importance of “knowing your reader” I just had to blog about it.  In a nutshell: If your reader is an angel-and-or-astrology kind of girl, you might lose her with your meticulously researched blow-by-blow description of that scientific thingamajig.  You just might need to kill the darling:)

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