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12 comments to “Dane Hart Discuss Perceptions”
You gals are a hoot and a half!
Mmmm Julian McMahon and Gerard Butler…Gads, I could eat those boys with a spoon.
Your post actually came at a perfect time because I just dealt with the whole issue of a few readers not agreeing with a decision I had a character make. They’re take was that I was simply ‘wrong’ to have the character take that route because the reader didn’t like that they had made that decision. (shrugs) I tried to make them see that the story was what it was and for it told be told the way I wanted, the character had to make that choice. No, it wasn’t pleasant but it was necessary.
Do you remember those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books? (I’ve seen them being revived lately)(squeeee) I so loved them as a kid. But some readers really think that because THEY don’t like something, you should change it. Ah well.
Oh, on the topic of character viewpoints chaging how you see them, Emily Giffin did an amazing job of this with her two books ‘Something Borrowed’ and ‘Something Blue’. You had Rachel who was the heroine in the first book and she’s portrayed as the good girl and Darcy is the best friend who is spoiled and walks all over her. I hated Darcy with a passion and my best friend insisted that once I read Something Blue which was Darcy’s story, I’d change my mind about her. I couldn’t see it. Darcy came off spoiled and mean and just grrr. Then I read Something Blue and I DID get it. I could see how getting inside Darcy’s head and watching her grow made her an actual likeable character.
They still have those books – my oldest son loves them.
SEP does an interesting thing with characters over the course of a book (secondaries she may make primary later) where they’re totally unlikeable but she peels away their layers until you get why and then they slowly emerge into people you like. She’s awesome that way.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, right? I adore her stuff. I think the first book I read of hers was…dang I can’t remember the title right now…’Fancy-Something…Fancy Pants or some such. Dagnabbit. I have to go to my bookshelf and check. Nope, can’t find it. But I did find Dream A Little Dream which I also love muchly.
This is the way I look at it: there are always going to be opinions. People are going to like something or they are not going to like something. Readers might disagree with what I chose to have happen in the book, but that doesn’t mean it’s “wrong.” It means they didn’t like it. And not liking something is totally okay! (I mean, sure, I wish everyone loooooooved everything I do, but that’s never gonna happen.)
Opinions are wonderful and necessary and a part of life. But just because you don’t like something, that doesn’t mean it’s “wrong.” My job as an author is to tell the best story I can — that means making the best choices for the characters to tell the story I want to tell. Now, if you’re reading it and you just can’t see it the way I intended, that might be a lack of skill on my part, or it might be that your perceptions have so colored the reading that you simply don’t see it the way I meant you to and never will. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t understand what I was doing, or that the character and plot choices I made weren’t done on purpose, or that I had no clue that someone out there might not “get” what I was doing — it just means I made a choice. On purpose. Sink or swim, I chose the path the story took, and hoped you would be there along the way. If you (you being generic, of course, meaning everyone who reads the book) didn’t like my choice, that’s an opinion. It doesn’t mean that because my choice didn’t meet your needs that it was a mistake. It means it didn’t work for you, or that you didn’t like it. That’s all. And yes, it means I failed, as a writer, to get my point across to you in a way that convinced you to believe the story.
It still doesn’t, however, mean I just happened to toss something together without understanding that could happen.
I can tell too when I’m considering writing a scene that might get an iffy reaction. I figure we have two choices, we can power through and write the story WE want to tell or we can cop out and let the reader reaction dictate how we write.
WE are the masters of our universe and we must never forget it. Booyah! (laughs)
@Nancy: Well…I don’t know that I’m that vehement about it, though I see your point.
Without readers, there’s no point in writing the story. I consider it my job to write THE BEST story I can — by making the best choices I can for the story I want to tell. I do this knowing not every choice will work for every reader and I’m generally aware of it when make plot or character choices that not everyone would like. But I don’t ever forget that without the reader, my story might as well remain unwritten, so while I have to remain true to the story I do feel a responsibility to provide the best story I can, the one that will please the readers, fulfill them, sate them, please them. I do write to please my audience, even while knowing that it is impossible to please every single one of them.
I am not an author (and I’m not saying you are, just saying there is this divide) who feels at odds with the reader, who feels as though I have to have my story my way, only, without regard to what the readers might want. There is a fine line between writing for oneself and writing for an audience; I don’t want to ever NOT write for myself because then I would be bored or unhappy, but I can never forget that I’m not the only person reading the work.
I am the master of my universes, absolutely, and the choices I make, I make them for a reason, always. And I know they won’t please everyone, absolutely I know that. But I also keep in mind what the reader might want and try to provide that, even if it’s not necessarily what would first spring to my mind. It’s a bigger picture thing.
When I write something I know won’t please everyone, I’m still choosing to do it, it’s not accidental. I’m just doing it knowing that not everyone will like it, and that’s too bad, but it’s reality.
Oh no, I didn’t mean to say that I don’t take the readers into consideration. Of course we don’t write in a vacuum and if we didn’t want reader feedback to hear what works and what doesn’t, we’d keep the stories in the drawer or in our heads.
I just mean that I don’t let the fear that a reader may not like a specific turn or choice, stop me from making that choice if that’s the journey the characters need to make.
I think writers should write for themselves and their own pleasure firstly, and then take in reader’s views secondly and use them or not depending on the writers personal vision.
@ Mad – I think when he alerted the media it was an utter betrayal of her. And he never groveled because of it and worse, she simply let it go without making him grovel. The whole book, which I’d loved until that point, totally fell apart then because I lost all my respect for them both.
It pains me not to love all of Linda Howard’s books because I just adore her. But this book makes me crazy!