Alternative title: Knowing Your Audience
Here's the question, right?
When you're writing a story, be it a full-length novel or a piece of flash fiction, who exactly are you writing for?
These thoughts were spurred by a flash fiction contest that I entered with our esteemed Ms. Priest and Brbrbrbree!
If you were interested in reading some of the stories and voting along on which you think were the best reads, the story forums can be found here.
No, I won't reveal which stories belong to us. It's a blind vote so it'll be up to you guys to guess if you decide to check it out.
But anyway, there was a comment on one of the stories that talked about how the story didn't quite seem directed to the adult reader, but not really directed at the younger readers either.
It made me start thinking about the impact a story has when it hits the intended audience...but more importantly, it made me start thinking about how much of that impact is LOST when it's someone outside the intended audience that's reading it.
For another more concrete example, take the recent Simon Pegg movie that hit theaters, The World's End.
On the surface, the movie is about a group of old friends having a reunion and going out on an epic pub crawl in their hometown when they stumble upon the beginnings of a robot apocalypse kinda thing.
But the movie is actually about a man dealing with a crippling bout of nostalgia, and the desire to make everything 'go back' to the way they were.
It's about an existential crisis, almost, as the main character tries to come to terms with the fact that life has passed him by, that his friends have all moved on , gotten careers, started families, while he's still sitting there, trying to bring the past back to life.
Now, back to the topic of intended audiences.
This movie resonated with me in a big way.
I have friends who act the way the main character does. Hell, I've acted the way the main character does. The movie spoke to me.
But I think about a young kid, maybe about to turn 20, checking out this movie with his friends...and I can't see that impact happening.
I don't really see someone who's never asked themselves, "Jesus, what the fuck am I doing with my life?" really appreciating all this movie has to offer.
So that's what I'm wondering.
Have you ever sacrificed a piece of what you saw in your head to reach a 'wider audience'? Where do you take a stand? Where do you draw your line in the sand?
For me, my last incident was fairly recently. I refused to pull the use of the word "fucked" in a story.
I had a pretty solid reasoning going on in my head at the time and, for the most part, I still stand by it.
But after thinking about this stuff, I wonder about that choice.
What about you guys? Any regrets out there?