Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love, Hate & Mass Confusion!

POP QUIZ!

Raise your hand if you LOVE snow!!
…that’s all the skiers, snowboarders, and kids who want to stay home from school (and work)

Raise your hand if you HATE snow!!
…that’s everyone in the western and northern united states

Raise your hand if you LOVE snow until you get it then you hate it then you lament that it’s too cold and has never been so cold in the history of ever and you’d give anything for summer and then come July you HATE the heat and wish it would snow
…that’s most everyone in the state of Georgia.

Same item: snow

Different reactions: love, hate, mass confusion and no bread, milk or frozen pizzas on the shelves.

How can people see the same thing and have so many different opinions about it?

How can people read the same story and have so many different opinions about it?

Even better-

How can people have the same topic, the same general idea and create so many different stories with it?

Point of view is a powerful thing. So is experience. Every story written carries the authors perspective of an issue and experience with an event. Every reader brings to every story their own, very powerful and very influential perspectives. If you've experienced the loss of a loved one to illness, you'll react differently to a drama about death by cancer than someone who's never experienced that. You'll laugh at the kids who can't seem to do anything right because you recognize your own, awkward, twelve year old selves in them. Or you roll your eyes and wonder why they can't tie their shoes and move on to the next story.

Can we, as writers, write a purely objective story? Can we remove ourselves entirely and write a story that will appeal to both sides of every coin, giving every person the opportunity to pick it up, nod and say, "Oh yeah, I get THAT"?

No.

Sociology is a science. People who study its concepts must remove as much of their own objections and opinions and prejudices in order to study a group of people or a culture or an issue without swaying the reader into thinking anything negative or positive about them. When writing out my responses to discussion questions, I try to remain as neutral as possible, but its hard because I don't have all the facts. I have to respond based on my own experiences, my own opinions.

We can't have all the facts, even in our own stories. We're at the mercy of fickle characters who, just like the characters of our waking existence, have quirks and problems and issues and mood swings. We're only human and we project our own big mess of experiences into what we write.

And that's what makes story so beautiful. One story, one author's perspective. It may be the same as yours, it may be different. Is it right? Is it wrong? Doesn't matter. What matters is that it speaks to you, it moves you, it opens up your own perspective and makes you think a little deeper.

I'm not talking about changing your religion over a book. I'm talking about allowing yourself to grow as you write, grow as you read, and hopefully, sprinkle a little fertilizer on the imaginations of those who will pick up your book one day, look at that amazingly art directed cover and say, "Hn. Now THIS looks interesting."

Don't fear your experiences. Let them loose and see where they take you. And don't fear the responses of your readers or critics. Someone very wise once told me that if you're making everyone happy, you must be doing something wrong.

Ok kiddos, the room's open for discussion!

***

PS: A great big "HOWDY" to all my new followers! I'm sorry if I've not made it around to your blogs. I shall! I promise...just as soon as I scrape the snow off my car...

9 comments:

  1. I'm all for growing and LOTS of fertilizer! Great post!

    And I love a love/hate thing with snow, btw. Love the beauty--hate everything else!

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  2. Yes! Awesome post!! I love the subjective nature or writing, especially. Means just because one person doesn't like something it doesn't make it crap! Love that knowledge!! Awesome awesome post! (hate snow/love snow. It's beautiful and I love the peaceful silence but I hate missing so much work!)

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  3. Fascinating post! It is interesting that writing is so subjective; that there will always be people who like this, hate that, or vice versa, and will feel something different from everyone else when they read.

    Love the snow.

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  4. I love how POVs can change a story drastically! Maybe that's why I'm drawn to books with alternating POVs.

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  5. I'm hoping I grow with each book...but I'm not sure I'll see that growth until someday when I look back on what I'm writing.

    I'm definitely one who's sick of snow at this point!

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  6. I hate snow! Well, I like it right up until Christmas time, maybe New Years, and then it's all about endurance.
    I love this blog, however. Communication is so hard! I recently had a texting conversation with a friend in which I thought I was being hilarious and I found out later I was making her angry. Who knew? It was kind of funny, but truth be told, it disturbed me on really deep levels. How can we ever know if we are coming across the way we intended? We all have different experiences, indeed. A different lens through which we view things. It's true, we will be misunderstood sometimes, even make people upset or angry. But we can't make everyone happy, right?

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  7. Hi, just a quickie to let you know I have a blog award over at mine The enigmatic, masked blogger

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  8. You can't please everyone all the time is what my mom always tells me. I figure that you just need to tell the story the way you feel it. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion.

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  9. Though provoking post and so true. I have several awards for you on my blog.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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