Telempathy Dept.

From Asakiyume mita - translation from your mind to the page

... what you think you're conveying with your words isn't necessarily what the reader's apprehending. That's the whole reason for giving your story to some beta readers before you send it out into the wide world—they test it out for you, and you can tell from their reaction whether your words did what you wanted them to do.

For a long time, this was easily the worst problem I had as a writer, hands down. I was trying so hard to be "subtle" and not do things that I thought amounted to clobbering the reader over the head that I wound up conveying no useful information to them at all.

Them: "I didn't get it."

Me: "What's not to get?"

Them: "...Everything."

Me: "Um — wait. How could you not see that XXX was YYY and ZZZ?"

Them: "Because you didn't put it on the page."

Me: "..."

And after I finished sulking and assuming they were Idiots Who Didn't Appreciate Me, I'd re-read and see they were right. Whatever it was I had been meaning to say had somehow gone unsaid the whole time. Saying just enough is far harder than saying nothing or everything. Fortunately that's why there are these things called rewrites.

Although, again, it took yet another bit of painful growing-up to actually want to go back to things I'd written and polish them. It was very easy, for a long time, to be ruled by the impulse to just dash on ahead and never look back because it was simply too awful to see how badly I'd screwed up.

Tags: dharma writing

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2009/09/22 23:15.

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