Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

No one’s going to get that!

by Rob - June 29th, 2015.
Filed under: Writing.

I say this in gentle good humour — I am extraordinarily grateful to my beta readers — but I always find it amusing that, without fail, some will say, “I get this joke, but will your readers?,” or “I know this word, but will your readers?” Now, of course, I have jokes that fall flat in early drafts and I sometimes use words that very few people know (or that I’ve misspelled so badly that no one recognizes them), or employ abbreviations (such as NDA or IMDb) without spelling them out.

But never do the “I don’t get it” or “huh?” remarks I do get on jokes or words coincide with the ones that other people think others won’t know or get. And, you know what? It’s good to have things that seem obscure but really aren’t: people are thrilled to find something in a book that makes them think they’re the only one in the world who will get it. It’s part of what we mean when we say a particular book “speaks to me.”

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