ACW

ACW

Thursday, 25 May 2017

What's that smell? by Fiona Lloyd


To fully appreciate this post, you’ll need your “scratch-and-sniff” technology enabled.



Ready?



Right, then: what do you think of this?




For those of you who don’t recognise it, this is allium ursinum – or wild garlic – and its dainty white flowers and not-so-dainty aroma permeate British woodlands at this time of year.



To my mind, however, it’s not quite so pungent as its more widely recognised cousin, allium sativum, which is the usual garlic you find in the supermarket. Personally, I rather like the smell of both varieties, and use enough of the regular stuff in my cooking to send any level-headed vampire running for cover.





I’m pretty sure, though, that while a large number of you are now licking your lips and nodding in agreement, others will be grimacing and making a mental note not to sit too close to me in future. Garlic – like that well-known yeast-extract product – is one of those things that divides opinion.



But wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same? Some people like garlic; others loathe it. There are those who think a perfect Saturday afternoon involves watching 22 grown men chase a ball up and down a muddy field…but I’m not one of them. My tastes in music tend to lag about 200 years behind those of the general populace, but that doesn’t make my preferences any less valid.



One of the mantras beloved of writing courses everywhere is to think about your target audience.  It’s not realistic to expect that our writing will appeal to everyone, and yet so often we start off with only a vague idea of who it is we’re writing for. If we worry too much about people not liking our work, there’s a danger we’ll never share it with anyone. Either that, or our words become so insipid that they lose their ability to hold the reader’s attention. We need to continually remind ourselves that it’s okay to divide the critics: if our intended readership enjoys and / or benefits from our writing, it doesn’t really matter if others are less enamoured.



And after all, who wants to be bland?


Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013 and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com and at http://thejesusonthebus.blogspot.co.uk. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.


11 comments:

  1. Very wise words. I always used to be paranoid about what I wrote - if one person said it wasn't for them, I assumed that meant everyone else who said they liked it must have been pretending! I think I am slowly recovering from this condition, thankfully, and developing a tougher skin.

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    1. I think my skin is paper-thin! Trying to remind myself that I don't have to please everybody...

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  2. Thanks Fiona, excellent advice. As I venture into writing my first novel, I just want to tell a good story. I suppose that raises the question as to who might think that it's good. I'm not focusing on that as I write ... I want to enjoy writing it and if, later on down the line, others might enjoy reading it, I shall be 'over the moon'. If there are some who don't like it, then I shall still be delighted with writing a book that I felt to be worthwhile and gave me lots of pleasure working on.

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    1. I think that's a really good approach, Agatha - we sometimes forget - at least I do - that there is great benefit in writing to please ourselves.

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  3. Thanks Fiona. On reading this, I've realised I haven't really given any thought as to who my target audience is. I think I have a scatter-gun approach.... Thanks for making me think! I guess it's time I addressed this.

    And for the record, I love garlic! (Though now I'm headed into middle age I'm not so certain it loves me anymore....)

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    1. Who cares about middle age? I plan to keep on eating the stuff for as long as I still have teeth to chew it with. Thanks for reading.

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  4. Yes, this is a really good point. I always remember Adrian Plass's answer when asked who he writes his books for: "One, lovely, slightly hurt person with a wry sense of humour and a smallish reservoir of hope. We get on really well."

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    1. I remember that too. I believe him

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    2. That sounds like my ideal audience - d'you think Adrian would mind if I borrowed her / him?

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  5. Love this, and the device is sterling. Thank you

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    1. Thanks, Wendy - just watch out next time you sample my cooking!

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