Monday, April 2, 2012


Good morning, gentle readers.Today, I'm going to talk about frustration.  We've all experienced it.  That sense of profound irritation with the world because something isn't going the way that we want.
Writing is a frustrating enterprise.
Don't believe me?  Sit down and write something.  Maybe a short 500 word piece of fiction.
Done?  Great!
Now, show your work to ten people and ask them what they think.
Some of the responses will be completely expected, others will surprise you and one or two will have you pulling your hair out.  Why?  Because those last two just didn't get what the story was about.  Or they totally misinterpreted what you were writing in the first place.
Genre writers probably get more of the last than most other writers.  Regardless of what you write, having your readers totally miss the point you're trying to convey, can drive you nuts.
I am not immune to frustration.  One of the authors who generally frustrates me is Agatha Christie.  Why? You ask.   
Because I think she cheats.  She never gives you all the clues to help you solve the mystery.  Dame Agatha is particularly guilty of this in her Miss Marple books.
So, what do you do when a reaction to your writing leaves you fretting and frustrated?  Well, gentle reader, I hate to say this, but there isn't much you can do.  Writing is open to interpretation.  Sometimes that cool vampire story you wrote is going to be read as a deliberate parody of the genre.  Occasionally your readers will look at your characters' actions and motivations and get them completely wrong.
Whatever you do, don't argue with the readers.  There's no point.  It's probably best to just make a statement, declaring your actual intent, and then go away.  Let the readers and critics debate among themselves while you have a nice cup of tea or a soothing massage.
Then, you put aside your frustration and start writing something else.

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