Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Costumes

Two little girls met up one Halloween to go trick-or-treating together. They greeted each other with smiles then looked at each other's costumes.

One of the girls wore a sparkly fairy princess costume, complete with magic wand and tiara. She had a pair of colored wings, bought, and she'd picked out the fabric for her dress for her mother to sew.

The other little girl gave a little shrug and said flatly, "Your costume is nice." You see, she wasn't into princesses or fairies very much.

The second little girl had also had a say in her costume. She helped make her mask and the picture emblazoned on the leotard she wore. She had a cape and boots. Arms akimbo, legs spread heroically she waited for the first little girl to ooh and aah over her Batgirl costume.

The first little girl said, "Who are you supposed to be?" For you see, the first little girl hadn't been exposed to superhero culture.

The moral of the story isn't which costume was better. No indeed. The point is that the things we like are exclusive to ourselves. Sometimes we meet someone else who also appreciates one or two of the things we do. You will never find someone who loves everything you do or who has had all the same experiences you have. Life is subjective. Our tastes are subjective.

While one person may love military science fiction, another may think those kinds of stories dribble. One person may devour romance novels, another cringe at the covers, let alone the contents.

We tend to write the kinds of stories we love, stories that reflect the things we've learned and know. It's wrong to assume everyone else will love our stories as much as we do. Because, they won't. And we won't love their stories as much as they do.

That doesn't mean there isn't a place for all kinds of stories and readers. It's important to know your audience.

*Incidentally, the costume story is based on a real life encounter.


  1. Ah, you didn't write what happened to the little girls after this. I hope batgirl's feelings weren't hurt.

    Now you have me making up a what-happened-next scenerio. It involves the girls going trick or treating and having to rescue their neighbors from a nefarious duo. Oh, and their costumes are magic. Which gives them super powers.

    I shall stop now.

  2. Lol. I love where you went with that!

    For the record, batgirl was fine. =) She had an opportunity to explain who her character was to her friend. Who, after some thought, said the idea sounded cool.

  3. That makes sense. Writing is a labor of love, or what's a blank page for? An author--or any artist, for that matter, has so much more at stake than anyone else who interacts with the work, be it a reader, editor, casual admirer--whomever. There is a loving pride that the artist has invested time, talent, and energy into her craft, and this loving pride cannot be shared by anyone who didn't contribute to the finished product. Even then, a contributor cannot, I think, feel the same degree of loving pride as can the artist.

    1. Too true. No one will ever love or "get" your work better than you.

      Even the fanfiction crowd. ;)