The stimulus for the creation of ‘Fireworks and a number twenty-two’ derived from columns and articles found in many women’s magazines today. These features tell of various events the writers have experienced and convey the accounts in a very ‘earthy’, ‘honest’ and ‘raw’ way. This allows the reader to connect with the writer through a commonality of an experience, which draws the audience more into the article. The model text that inspired my article was the column, turned book, turned major blockbuster movie ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’.
‘Fireworks and a number thirty-two’ is a magazine column written to entertain a female audience, suitable to feature in magazines such as ‘Red’, ‘Cosmopolitan’ and ‘Company’. These magazines attract a female audience, aged between twenty and thirty-five, who take an interest in fashion, beauty and modern lifestyles. In addition, females are commonly known for their fascination with gossip, and magazines such as ‘Company’ provide an abundance of scandal and gossip stories for women to feast on.
Magazines such as those mentioned frequently offer a commonality of experience for their audience; problem pages and real-life stories all provide an insight into the life of a ‘conventional’ workingwoman. This is a method I decided to adopt in order for my audience to relate to my character by exploring the commonality of experiences, which provides the audience with a comical reassurance of their everyday lifestyle. An example of this can be seen in my article; ‘I rushed through the ever-growing crowd of people, who incidentally all seemed to be heading in the totally opposite direction to me, in a bid to catch my bus. ‘
Theories indicate that audiences’ posses the need for reinforcement of self-understanding and indulgence, thus they find comfort in the media and compare their own lives to those portrayed in pieces such as this. I felt my article ‘Fireworks and a number twenty-two’ had to stretch the boundaries of conventional real-life stories and place a great deal of trust within the audience. A large proportion of the feature relies on audience prior knowledge and their ability to ‘decode’ the language used in order to understand the hidden meanings. For instance; ‘Instead I took the easy route and commenced the walk down the green mile, back to my desk.
‘ This particular extract relies upon the audiences’ ability to identify the true meaning of the phrase ‘the green mile’, and apply it to the situation in the article. The phrase ‘the green mile’ typically has connotations with jail The effect of employing such techniques is firstly, that the unusual positioning of such a phrase is incongruous within the context, and thus it has a comedic value. Secondly, the mental exercise of successfully decoding and interpreting the phase within the context of the story, results in audience gratification; the ‘tongue in cheek’ concept of “look how clever we are”.
In the opening sentence I used rhetoric and addressed the reader as ‘you’; techniques to attract my audience and address them personally and directly. In order to create an enjoyable, hopefully humorous read for the audience, I used a mixture of formal, colloquial and taboo language. Lexis and phrases such as ‘ugly mug’, ‘fan-bloody-tastic’ and ‘y’know’ are examples of colloquial and slang vocabulary. The use of words such as these emit a familiar ambience to the reader; the article ‘talks their language’. Lexis such as ‘incidentally’ and ‘ensemble’ provide a balance between a relaxed, ‘chatty’ tone and a formal, professional one.
The mixture of colloquial and formal language encourages a personal interaction between the reader and writer and constantly toughens the degree of trust the writer has for the reader; this permits the writer to push the boundaries of the genre to its extremities. The concoction of a variety of tones and subjects establish the reader’s desire to become part of the sub-group that these magazines and articles have created. I purposely used the conventions of conversational speech in my article to encourage an interaction between my character and the reader.
The use of conversation conventions is that the audience can easily understand how my character feels, and it gives the piece a friendly, convivial quality. Throughout the article I consistently used hyperbole, for example ‘escape from the crime scene for a desperately needed injection of nicotine’. The use of exaggerated language and long sentences accurately convey my character’s lifestyle. The long complex sentences have a fast, rushed pace and this characteristic of my article reflects my character’s emotions and personality. For instance:
‘I rummaged desperately through my handbag; I needed tobacco fast! Now! Before I exploded! I rescued the Marlborough packet from the evil grasp of handbag number 89; y’know, the one I bought in the ‘House Of Fraser’ January sale to go with those shoes that I can only wear for five minutes because after that they hurt so much, I can’t even get to bar without falling over. ‘ The use of dramatic, action lexis such as ‘wrestled’, ‘exploded’ and ‘fought’ further emphasise my character’s stressful lifestyle and create suspense as to how her problems will be resolved.
There are a variety of lexical fields used within my feature, some of which include religion, modern technology, celebrity and brands. The use of introducing and mixing religious terminology with celebrity names is unexpected within the context of this article for example: ‘I heard the angel’s chorus commence as I looked towards the end of the road; a bus bearing angel wings and a halo, flew around the corner and descended into my stop. ‘ This incongruity of using phrases such as those above, give the column its comedic effect; because the word or phrased is used in an unpredicted context it becomes humorous.