In the business of writing and photography I rely on interpretation. This is daunting at times, because just when I strike the perfect moment in literary genius, write it up and send it to a trusted critique partner, I often learn that my meaning was understood by them much differently than it played through my mind. This is less frequently an issue with photography. Although it’s happened – I take that priceless shot, thinking it speaks volumes, only to have it fall flat on it’s face in the eyes of a different viewer.
My hubby tells me drawing and painting is much like writing in the realms of interpretation.
So how do I combat this? Well, I generally begin boring, lengthy descriptions that lack the necessary feel to drive a reader to continue turning pages. I am learning; however, that less is more. I keep asking myself, “does the way my MC (main character) is feeling/responding reveal something about her character?” if it doesn’t, I re-write. This seems to be helping my readers interpret what I’m writing in a way similar to what I intended.
Yet, there’s a catch. We have all walked through stuff, junk, and messes in our life. We have all had blessings, no matter how big or small. Those things affect how we perceive and interpret the actions and feelings of characters that live in the pages of our favorite novels.
Jon Acuff blogged an amazing blog tip that I think applies in small ways to novels, as well. (You can find his post here: http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/a-blog-secret-from-michael-scott-and-the-office/)
So, maybe I’ll create the outline, and let the readers color in the pages.
Do you think your life “stuff” affects your interpretation of someone else’s work? Why or why not?