What’s Poppin’ Slime?

by Neeks

In other words, hi, what’s up?

Who is your target audience? Whenever I write a story or a poem I have a reader in mind. Actually I have a listener. In my mind I imagine someone hearing the story as I read it, with all of my emphasis and inflection – and how they would react. When I wrote “The Cottage,” a very short story about the history of an abandoned cottage on an island, I had a middle-aged-to-older female in mind. The things mentioned in the short story were the things I imagined she might be wondering about.

In another story, I wrote about a father and his son sleeping in the swamp during a hunting trip – that one, you guessed it, mostly for male readers, any age. I did one short story about three little fairies going about their day in the woods – for the little readers/listeners.

How you speak to someone should depend on who you are speaking to. Don’t refer to corporate ascent as a game of Chutes and Ladders, it makes the subject as well as the subject matter seem trivial. Unless that is your intent, make it audience appropriate. What teen today would understand it if I said I would give it a “lick and a promise” when I spilled my coffee on the way out the door? It means that I’m in a hurry and I’m going to just give it a lick with the mop and promise to come back and do the job right later. It’s something my elderly neighbor used to say and would understand immediately if she read it. My teen – not so much.

Likewise, my mother looks alarmed when I tell her I got tagged in a photo on Facebook, so…


16 Comments to “What’s Poppin’ Slime?”

  1. A good reminder for any writer! Thanks.

  2. I’m currently writing from the POV of a 16 year old and I’m avoiding using current teen colloquialisms because I’ll just end up sounding like a 33-year-old trying to sound like I’m 16.

    I do occasionally refer to urban dictionary though (http://www.urbandictionary.com/) just to see if there’s an acceptable word to me that’s also ‘current’….and it transpires that most words have some kind of filthy double-meaning to today’s youth!

  3. I tend to forget that occasionally—thanks for the timely reminder!

    • I know I’m certainly guilty of it. Sometimes I get a little too deep south with my southern and when I re-read it the words just don’t ring true. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. That’s a very good resource Sally, boy you are right, lots of filth! You are right also, that you can’t use too many colloquialisms because it ends up not sounding right. The trick is throwing in enough to sound like you’re part of the group while not overdoing it. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Neat post, Neeks!

    This is one of those writing areas that I neglect. Often I am halfway through a piece of writing and I realize that I have no clue who my audience is. I guess mainly I want to write meaningful material for all kinds of people rather than narrowing the field to a select age/gender/social class.

    But I also understand the importance of knowing your market, and audience is a part of that. Your post has helped remind me that I have to try harder at figuring out who I am writing for, so that I can reach them as effectively as possible.

  6. Kate you hit the nail on the head better than I did. You have to know your market. You can write to any audience you want – everyone, just women, just kids, red-headed stepchildren with green eyes.
    The question – is there something in your piece that will make them want to read more, or like my parents and just about everything about Facebook, (forgive the pun here I couldn’t resist) are they hitting a “wall?”

  7. Thank you for popping by.
    How interesting…I have never considered targeting a particular person.
    I just sit down and chat.
    As I consider the folk who follow my blog my friends it is so easy.

  8. Hi Neeks,

    Great post and so true! Firstly, I have to have I’ve never heard ‘lick and a promise’ before but I like it. It’s definitely important to make sure that your target audience are going to know what you’re referring to. I think this can also depend on where you’re from as well as age. For example, one of the posts that I put up recently had A4, A5, A6 etc which is the British reference for page size. Many of our American readers hadn’t come across this before, but it wasn’t even something that I had thought about.

    It’s definitely worth considering if you plan your books to go worldwide and whether your references will make sense.

  9. I rememebr reading about an author… I can’t remember who it was… Anyway, every novel he began writing, he started the draft with “Dear mom,”. I always thought that was a cute idea. Not sure if it’s exactly related, but your post reminded me of that.

    I think my audience is usually people around my age. I’ve not yet tried writing for a different group, mostly because I can’t remember how I how felt younger and can’t imagine how it feels to be older, so I write how I see people now.

    Maybe I should start being around more people in different age brackets? 🙂 Or being around people more in general ._. Silly me, being scared of people.

  10. Not at all ottabelle, I’m a real hermit myself. I just…have never been comfortable in social situations. I always say or do something wrong…at least it feels that way. Cool idea, with the dear Mom, I wonder what effect it had on his writing. Thanks for reading and commenting Ottabelle!

    • I feel the exact same way, regarding social situations.

      I’ve been meaning to try the “Dear someone” trick. It’s supposed to make it like you’re just telling the story to them, and make you feel more at ease. That’s how the author described it. He was a best seller, if I remember. I can’t remember at all who he was…

      Time to consult google!


      -slams head into keyboard- I give up.

      • You made me laugh, my daughter is looking at me funny…lol.

        I think, if I started a story dear soandso, …the thought of it makes me feel kind of self-conscious. Like, if it was dear mom, I would have to be careful what I say. I don’t know if that would be helpful or not, I guess it would be though. Still and all, it seems like an interesting idea.

  11. I agree with Kate on not wanting to narrow my audience. So, what I do, is to always read my writing out loud. If someone is speaking then I try and give it their inflection. I feel that if the ‘voice’ of the characters is right then the story will connect with a range of people.

    For me, the only time that I have massively altered my style has been in writing a book for 4-6 year olds (which I am doing as a project with my stepson who is illustrating it).

    As for a ‘lick and a promise’ my Mum used to say that when sticking down my wayward hair with a spit-wet hand when there was no hair brush around!

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