Know your audience

by | Mar 1, 2020 | Life Rambles, Random Life Musings | 0 comments

“She has the best opening lines I’ve ever read.” 

This is a statement (or something to that effect) I made in a book club awhile back that has haunted me for some time. Why? Because I made that statement to members of a fantasy book club about a romance book I was reading. 

First, one thing you should know about me is I tend to exaggerate when I’m excited. (Also, when I’m angry.) It’s a character flaw and one I’m working on, but in this case, I actually meant it. This author’s first lines grabbed me and had the right amount of witty sarcasm to make me laugh on page one. 

The problem wasn’t my statement. The problem was my audience and my lack of clarity. The book did have the best opening lines IN A ROMANCE I’ve ever read. FOR ME. They weren’t your standard description of the scene or the slow unveiling of the main character you often find. Nope. The author jumped right in with some dialogue that immediately told me I would like this character.

From line one, I was hooked. 

At the time, I was also finding my love of reading again. So, yeah. I was excited. 

I haven’t read a lot of fantasy. It’s one reason I tried to join the book club. (Though I failed miserably on the actual follow-through of that try.) I love to watch fantasy; I have story lines swirling around in my brain that fit in that genre. But I haven’t read it much. From what I have read though, I can tell you there are probably some beautifully written opening lines. And, off the top of my head, I can think of other books in other genres I may have said the same thing about. 

So, proclaiming that book had the best opening lines I’ve ever read led to a major delayed cringe-fest.

Now, there is always the possibility my hyper focus on that statement is just my anxiety running amok. That happens occasionally. I’ve never brought it up. (Well, I guess I have now.) But my anxiety isn’t wrong in this case.

Knowing your audience is important. Whether it’s in a book club, or at your office or when you’re talking to readers, how you frame your content and your words has a lot to do with the people on the receiving end. 

There are times you have to figure out yourself before you can figure out your audience. Something I’ve been focusing on the last year or so.

I’m there now. I found my direction, and the wheels are turning. 

They say everything is a lesson or a blessing and, in this case, that cringy moment—whether real or imagined—helped shape the path I’ve chosen.

What about you? What are some of your cringy moments that turned into a lesson?