Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Continued

After I wrote the post yesterday I was reading in Stephen King's ON WRITING. I came to a part where he describes a table covered with a red cloth. On the cloth is a cage holding a rabbit. On the rabbit's back is the number 8 in blue ink.  Then he says

"Do we see the same thing?  We'd have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure but I think we do.  There will be necessary variations, of course: some receivers will see a cloth which is turkey red, some will see one that's scarlet....Decorative souls may add a little lace, and welcome--my tablecloth is your tablecloth, knock yourself out." 

I love how casual he is about it.  He then goes on to say those details don't really matter and the important thing is the 8 on the rabbits back.  And everyone will see that, no matter what their tablecloth looks like.  So as long as we get the big stuff right, the important things, we shouldn't sweat whether the reader sees the exact same farm we do.  My mother and I share a favorite book and we often have discussions about it.  Quite often our perceptions and imaginings are similar.  Sometimes they are widely different.  That doesn't detract from either of our enjoyment. 

King then goes on to say speaking of himself and us as the reader,

"We're not even in the same year together, let alone the same room...except we are together. We're close.
We're having a meeting of the minds." 

I loved this because it showed how we CAN meet over time and space.  Not everyone will form a connection with the book or me as an author but for the ones who do it will be amazing. 

18 comments:

  1. I've always thought Stephen King had a great attitude toward writing and his ON WRITING is one of my special books.

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  2. Oh, perceptions and the reader.

    Is that why so many of us didn't pick up on the fact that Rue in the Hunger Games was Black? (I sure didn't.) We were all too caught up in the bigger picture--would she survive?

    And that's how it should be with writing. The story should be so captivating that we don't have to bore the reader with minor details.

    Hmmm. I think I've got some rewriting to do...got to remove a few minor details. :)

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    1. I've heard some people say they don't like Hunger Games as much knowing Rue and Thresh were black. They could just be prejudiced but I wonder if that had to do with perception. If it were the shock of it being different then they imagined. Maybe if they had perceived that in the book it wouldn't have bothered them in the movie.

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    2. Oops, "was the shock" Sigh, when will I learn to read it over before posting?

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    3. "Maybe if they had perceived that in the book it wouldn't have bothered them in the movie."

      Good point. :)

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  3. It's been years since I read that book. I think it's time to read it again.

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    1. It's my first time through but I'm enjoying it.

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  4. Reading and writing is all about those connections, and the dialogue they inspire.

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  5. Very cool. It is interesting that we can meet over time and space. Never put enough thought into it, but I like what you've shared. :)

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    1. It was a pretty cool idea. I'm really enjoying this book.

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  6. It is for this reason -- that as a reader I see my own version of the story -- that I do not see movies of books (even the Harry Potters). My own movie is much, much better.

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    1. I do watch movies of books but I've never seen one I liked as much as mine. I haven't finished the Harry Potter movies cause they just couldn't hold me.

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  7. Ohhh... what a cool concept! Very fun, S.P. ;) And I've been meaning to read that book FOREVER. I need to get on that. :D

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    1. It was pretty cool. So far it's been an amazing book. I think I like it the best of any writing book I've read so far.

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  8. I remember being at a book talk once where an author said she saw the Cliff Notes version of her book and the Cliff Notes writer interpreted the meaning behind certain details of her story all wrong. So I hear what you're saying here about how different readers see different things.

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    1. Yikes. That would scare me. I'd wonder if anyone had understood what I was trying to say and probably get all depressed because if I had been a better writer people would have caught on better.

      Still, how cool to have a book popular enough to have Cliff Notes about it.

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