The Feather Girl

I’m currently working on an article for Feather Magazine, an online publication by young women, for young women. They had an article written about who a “Feather Girl”, or the magazine’s audience, really was. I read the article, describing the free-spirited, open minded kind of girl that apparently read this magazine, and found that knowing the girl I was writing to was incredibly helpful.

I read several of the articles in the magazine and tried to emulate the laid back, easy style that the readers enjoyed. I’ve always enjoyed reading women’s magazines, so I found it a lot easier to write in this style than I originally thought.

Style is really fluid thing. Not only can we learn to enjoy reading in many different styles, we can learn to enjoy writing in many different styles as well. I found that I really enjoy writing for the “Feather Girl”, just as I enjoy writing for children and writing poetry. Expanding our use of style can help us grow tremendously as authors, and breaking out of our comfort zone can be an incredibly strengthening experience.

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4 thoughts on “The Feather Girl

  1. rdomitz April 23, 2015 / 12:28 am

    I felt as if I had a similar experience in my own piece, when I saw how the audience builds my style for me. Analogous to painting a portrait while looking at the person’s face, I “see” my readers when I’m writing. What bugs me is that these strict style analyses treat readers demographically, ignoring outliers or what you’d call an exception. While everyone reads in their own realm of categories and interests, can a piece not stand out and transcend a genre or theme? Can something be just plain old good writing? I can’t help but feel like any successful writer from the frontlines of publishing history braved the waters of an obscure audience, untethered to a particular style. I’m simply curious if you think that writing to an explicitly vague audience can help develop new and innovative ways to tell the same story?

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  2. courtneycalderon April 23, 2015 / 1:16 am

    I think the audience certainly shapes your style to a certain extent. Your sentence structure would be different for a publication aimed at children than it would be for adult trade publications. At this point in my writing career, I feel as though I can change my style at the drop of a hat. I can write a silly poem and then immediately compose long, drawn out, descriptive sentences with multiple clauses and complicated interjections. However, I don’t think this is a good thing. I think the best writers have a style that transcends audience. Even if you’re writing for two drastically different targets, there should still be elements that stay the same. I’m sure I’ll get better at this with time, as most writers do. For now, you’re right that it’s definitely fun to try out different audiences and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

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  3. Jasmine Ly April 23, 2015 / 4:35 am

    I’m also writing an article for a magazine by young women, for young women! Isn’t it a great audience? I definitely agree with you; knowing who your audience is impacts your style tremendously. I’ve been reading the magazine that I’m writing for for years, so I feel like my style has really developed with the magazine, an advantage not many people have with their own writing and publication goals. But depending on who your audience is, you may have to sacrifice bits and pieces of your style so that its easier for potential readers to understand. I don’t think you have to sacrifice all of it though; some little flairs can still shine through!

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    • alivalerio April 23, 2015 / 6:43 am

      I think you guys have a great conversation going on here. Courtney, I definitely agree with you to some extent. I think it’s great that you can change your writing style so easily in order to fit your writing situation. When you say that the best writers have a style that transcends audience, I think you’re right, but I think you’re also thinking of voice. Style is often dependent upon, or at least characterized by, the certain situation for writing. Someone on here wrote a post about the difference between style and voice (I can’t remember who, sorry!), and explained it like this. A magazine may be full of writers that all have their style fit the style of the magazine. But each of them still have their own voice, and their own way of communicating that style. I’m noticing that a lot of websites use style and voice pretty much interchangeably, which makes things really confusing.

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