Writerly Rant #82 ~
By M.J. Moores, Author. Editor.
It frustrates me to no end the way so many debut authors get upset that a reader has “misunderstood” their work or has “read it wrong.”
We are called individuals for a reason. Each reader has their own set of baggage, rewards, disappointments, education level… no two people are exactly alike – just look at the studies done on identical twins!
It constantly baffles me how an author can expect that a turn of phrase or a series of inferences placed in their novel should be read exactly as he/she “intended” when it was written.
And they get their back up when I try to politely point this out.
“That’s not what I said!”
“That’s not what I meant!”
“You’re reading it wrong!”
“You don’t understand…”
Perhaps, perhaps not.
So who’s fault is it then that I didn’t read it exactly the way you wanted me to? That I don’t carry the exact same experiences around inside of me that you do… does that mean I’m not allow to read and enjoy your novel? That I’m not allowed to take away from it a different connection or a different message than you originally intended?
Honesty, either you train yourself to write like Hemingway and lose the vast number of indirect references in your work, speaking plainly and simply (definitely not a style for all writers or readers) or you realize that the world is bigger than just you and your ideas and learn to accept that other people are not going to read your book in exactly the same way… even though your words don’t change.
In the end whose story is it… the author’s or the readers?
… I’d say it’s neither’s – it belongs to the world of interpretation.
(…waiting for the hail of WTF to flood the comment section from the very authors I’m writing about…)