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Know Your Audience…

This weekend my husband and I took our daughter to the Casa Manana children’s theater. We have season tickets that my mother-in-law gets us every year. All in all they are awesome. I was wowed by their production of Treasure Island, I cried when Charlotte climbed up to her web for that last time, when Shere Khan stepped out onto that orange stage I laughed out loud, and my daughter still talks about that other snowman from the Frosty show.

But, this time–they did not impress.

Their production of Alamo, the Musical was completely inappropriate. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “Jamie, how can they tell the story of the Alamo without a little death and canon shooting?”

I’m not upset about that, I am upset about Santa Anna holding an old man at knife point in front of my four year old–it was unnecessary to the story, and not at all in line with their audience.

You see, when that happened I started looking around the Casa Manana theater and gauging the ages of the audience. Adults aside, (because seriously, we’re just there for our kids) the average age of the theater goers was four or five. So, here we are watching a play with a great set and some of the best singing I’ve heard from that theater in the last four years, and they bombed it because they didn’t know WHO they were putting on the play for.

Which, got me to thinking…

When I sit in writer’s workshop on Wednesday nights, I hear a lot of really great stories… but I don’t get who they are for. You hear all the time in the writing business that you should just write a good story and not worry about things like trends or things like that, but I do think you need to worry about WHO your story is for. YA writers think a lot about this when they are monitoring their bad words, romantic scenes, etc., but I wonder if it’s more…

How do we really know that the stories we’re telling are geared toward the people we’re writing them for?

A Winner, and Well--That's it for now. :)
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