Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Know Your Audience

I was running the register in our store a few weeks ago and the last customer had just left when my husband came in from the back door and joined me behind the counter. A thrill of that high-school-girl-in-love shivered through me when his hot breath on the back of my neck turned into a soft lingering kiss.

I turned, anticipating a romantic interlude, but what I got instead was triumph. His eyes glittered with knowledge. "THAT," he said. "Is why Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is a best seller."

I blinked. "What?" I wanted to slap him outright for making me think romantically when he was only using me as a test market.

Then he pinned me to the counter and ran his finger down my jawline and kissed me again. Dang, but he's good. I almost did slap him, but had to catch my breath.

He laughed. "See?" he said. "She caters to the romantic inklings of every silly girl in America." Then I raised my fist. A slap wouldn't be good enough. He needed to be punched since I was one of those silly American girls. He grinned. "Not that I don't like kissing you, babe. I do, but I listened to the audio book of Twilight and found that the plot is lame, and nothing happens except for some girl living out her fantasy of having a superhero type guy smother her in soft hormone-inducing kisses."

My husband is all detached logic, and I really was fuming by this point since I really liked Twilight. I told him it had a brilliant plot.

"Ah, but what is the plot?" he asked.

"A young girl falls in love with a vampire and . . . and . . ."

He's making fun of me now. "And what?"

"Well, there's that other vampire that tries to kill her . . ."

"Not until the end, and she passes out for that--which is one of the lamest things ever. The story finally gets exciting and the main character sleeps through it? No, babe. The book sold well because it caters to female hormones."

I see his point of view. And as much as I still want to punch the man . . . he has a good point. But I don't think this is a bad thing. If you're writing a best seller and you cater to the audience for which you write . . . that's still brilliance in my book.

And the fact that each girl reading the book felt as if Edward's kisses were on her neck, is proof in the power of "show--don't tell."

We can all take a lesson from this and know the audience we're catering to, and make the book riveting enough that our audience feels that they--personally--are experiencing it.


Heather Moore said...

I hope your husband locked the store doors before he did all this experimenting :)

Julie Wright said...

lol . . . it was a slow day. :)

Heather Moore said...

Slow days are delightful.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that just like a man to think a little romance is lame? My hubby teases me about the adult romance books I read and I always want to say "Maybe you should read one sometime. You might get some great ideas."

Karlene said...

I was at Barnes and Noble Monday and they had a stack of each of her books, waist high, and up front by the checkout. As lame as some of the plot lines are (and they really are), she certainly did something right. I'd love to write a book as "lame" as hers.

Rachelle Christensen said...

Wow! What a great idea. I think I'm going to highlight some passages and make my husband read them. :)
When I first read Twilight, I couldn't put my finger on why exactly it was so good. But you're right, it's because she makes us feel as if it's happening to us too.