I've lived a lot of places in this big-ass country called the United States, and I've picked up a lot of stuff from here and there along the way. The question is, how much of what I've picked up and use in my writing is actually sympathetic to a majority of the readers. (As in 'yeah, I totally get that' versus 'that threw me right out of the story'.)
For instance, a beta reader for me wondered what BFE meant. She'd never heard it. And I had always assumed everyone knew what it meant. Derp. (I'm currently running a short survey on FB - so far, the majority know what it stands for, but a couple don't.)
Or my use of all y'all in my blog posts. I mean, I'm pretty sure most of you know it's the southern way of saying 'all of you'. (And no, I'm not southern - I just lived there long enough to have that become part of my vernacular.) Then again, readers abroad might find that confusing.
Add in that I'm a bit of a chameleon in that I pick up colorful words and phrases from whatever I've come in contact with - movies, TV, culture, books, etc. - and my writing voice might end up as a glop of stuff a broad spectrum of people might not entirely understand.
Oh god, and there are the words I make up. I try not to use those in my writing, but you never know when one might slip past. Unless it's sunuvabitch, which I totally think should be one word and is now part of my electronic dictionary so I stop getting the red-squiggly line of death.
It's a confusing thing. Or a cornfuggled thing. Or a confuzzled thing. Or whatever.
How do you feel about running across a word you aren't familiar with in your reading material? Do you head for the dictionary? If it's not there, do you head for the internet? Or do you just get frustrated and throw the book against the wall?