Mar 10, 2016

Question for Readers

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, March 10, 2016
Source: Mudgee Guardian

I've a question to ask of my international (particularly US) blog readers... Do you know what touch football is?

The characters in my current ms play mixed (as in guys and gals) touch football. I know it's an Aussie game that developed from rugby league, and I know it's now played around the world, including the US. But will readers know what it is?

I don't explain the game in my story, and my critique partners are worried overseas readers won't understand, that readers will associate it with lingerie football or gridiron, or even soccer.

It's something I always struggle with - what do international readers know? I don't want to treat my future readers like idiots and spell everything out, but at the same time I don't want them scratching their heads, or misinterpreting something, because I didn't explain.

A lot of the time I use context, or actions to demonstrate meaning. But in this instance, there are references made to touch footy a number of times before anyone is actually on the field. And it's a bit hard to use context or action to show meaning if they aren't actually playing.

This is a tricky one and I really need to know what *you* know before I worry about how to explain it in my ms.

I'd love to hear your answers. Remember to tell me the country you're from in your comment. Thank you!


Dena Pawling on March 10, 2016 at 4:25 PM said...

Here in CA, children and sometimes adults play flag football. I've heard of touch football altho I don't know the exact rules. How do you know if the person has been touched? That's why we use flags. Players wear flag belts, and opponents pull off the flags to "tackle" the ball carrier.

I think if you show an argument like "I touched you!" and "No you didn't, you liar!" it would probably be sufficient to (1) describe the game sufficiently for readers to understand, and (2) very accurately describe why we use flags here =)

Anyway that's my two cents, which because of inflation isn't much these days.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your WIP!

AJ Blythe on March 11, 2016 at 8:07 AM said...

Lol, thanks, Dena. Appreciate your 2 cents! (Totally off topic, but that made me think, thanks to inflation we don't have anything smaller than a 5c coin in Oz, and they're talking about getting rid of that - wonder if I should be saying 'my 5c'?)

Back on topic... Kids play flag football at school, not sure if it's played as much as an adult sport - but touch definitely is popular here. When readers get to the scene they're at training, so maybe they can use the flags for training and then it will be really clear.

Have a lovely weekend (it's Friday morning here and we've got a Monday long weekend. Yipee!)

Carolynnwith2Ns on March 14, 2016 at 10:35 AM said...

Like Dena, here in Connecticut, USA flag football is played. Not a lot though, the seasons are against us.
I do know of touch football but not a lot. My suggestion, have a clueless character someone has to explain the game to. A really little kid or a foreigner.

AJ Blythe on March 16, 2016 at 3:43 PM said...

Thanks, 2Ns. I might look into flag footy and see if it's played here. But a conversation to explain the game is probably the best way to handle it =)

Me on April 4, 2016 at 1:43 AM said...

From Canada! I know what touch football is; we have it here too.

AJ Blythe on April 4, 2016 at 8:55 AM said...

Thanks, Me! Hopefully that means others will as well =)

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