1/31/2011

Interpretation

Photo Credit to The Kingston Lounge
A couple of weeks ago Twitter was abuzz over this blog, including my agent and several of my agent-mates. We discussed our favorite photos, pondered the kind of stories they made us want to tell, threw out some serious plot suggestions, and ultimately some silly ones.

As we were winding down, I realized that all of us could look at the exact same picture and write an entire novel based upon it, and all of us would come up with something entirely different. And each idea could work - even the silly ones (if Rachel Hawkins was writing them, definitely the silly ones).

This is why writers will never run out of stories to tell. Was my experience on a momentous occasion - my first day of kindergarten or my first date - the same as yours? Not exactly. (Although hopefully there are enough common threads of human emotion to keep us from being alien to other people's experiences.)

For instance, when I read about a fictional character's first real kiss, I'm going to project myself onto that scene. I'm going to identify the things that were like my first kiss, as well as the things that were different, most likely subconsciously. It's not as if I'm going to take a time out and analyze it (okay, as a writer I probably will). But what I read will either connect with my emotions because of the similarities, or it will transcend beyond my experience and pull me along behind it. Both results depend on my interpretation as a reader.

(Although honestly, I kind of think the transcendent option is one of the Best Things Ever if a writer can pull it off, and also why hundreds of thousands of women are turned on by the thought of white sparkly marble or balmy shirtless canines ... wait, what?)

As it is for readers, so it is for writers. Truly, with any creative.

Our job is to help you connect, or allow you to transcend. To make you feel emotion. That's what gets readers invested in a story. That's where every writer can apply his/her own interpretation.

For example, the way Corrine Bailey Rae tells this story/song:




Is not the same way Jimmy Page tells this story/song:




But that doesn't make either one any less amazing.

Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great point! Even if you started with the same setting, characters, and concept, each writer/artist brings something different to a story because the artist is part of the equation. We can't separate some of our own experiences and viewpoints from the writing, so we're bound to come up with something uniquely ours.

    Martina

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