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It’s all a matter of perception

January 19, 2007

My sister and I had a conversation recently, one we’ve had before, about suspense books where there is any kind of whodunit aspect to the book. She finds that sometimes reading them makes her feel dumb for not seeing who the killer or villian was earlier in the story. On the opposite end of the spectrum is me. From the first page in these types of books I’m the one with the wheels turning, looking at every angle trying to puzzle it out in my head. There might not be anything until the last half of the book that will let me solve the mystery, but that doesn’t stop my brain from running a mile a minute to work it out.

I’m always looking for the twist, the surprises. I partly blame that on The Sixth Sense, because after that movie and not seeing that twist coming, it was like a switch was flipped in my head, and from that point on I had to pinpoint all twists in all movies I watched. There’s only one problem with this. Sometimes that part of the processing when I’m reading or watching a movie is impossible to turn off. My husband and I were watching a movie recently, but of course I can’t remember what it was, and he kept looking at me and telling me to stop trying to figure it out and just enjoy the movie the way he was. Easier said than done.

I do have a point. Really. 🙂

The other idea the idea for novella hit me out of the blue and I knew I had to write it right away. It was just one of the stories that hits fast and hard and its best to just go with it. One aspect of this story deals with my hero having a dual identity. I was having just a fun time working on it until I got to a point where I thought how do I pull this off? How do I write this without my heroine coming across as TSTL. And then I made the next leap, what if reviewers thinks it’s too flawed? That I made the story too unbelievable?

Now since I started writing paranormal its been a goal to take ideas that shouldn’t be believable and make them so. I want people to read the stories I envision and accept it, and have fun reading it. But this whole reviewer thing really froze me in my tracks, and for the first time ever I shut my laptop and walked away thinking, maybe this is one story I have to let go. Maybe I can’t make it beliveable.

Anyone else wondering what the hell I was thinking? LOL I mean one of my upcoming stories is about my heroine stuck in repeating loop of the same day. I’d like to think I made that believable. 🙂

After an hour or so of pacing I went back to the laptop and continued on because I knew that the story was just fun. It’s a story that would entertain me as a reader, and those are the stories that I always write. And I shouldn’t let the potential fact that a reviewer, one completely entitled to like or dislike my book, stop me from writing a story that many readers might enjoy.

Boy is this turning out to be a rambling post today.:)

As I’m working away and pushing myself, I’m thinking about mine and my sister’s conversation, and how lots of reviewers are clear on what things didn’t work for them in a story. Things in books that I might not notice, things my sister might not notice, somethings anyone just might not pick up on, one detail or another they don’t pay attention to just because these thing(s) might not be important to me, or my sister, or Jane Reader to enjoy the story.

It’s not that any of us are stupid, or easier to please so much, just that we all process things in a story a little bit differently. The same way we process what we see in movies, with an arguement at a grocery store, or politics differently. Doesn’t make anyone wrong or right for not seeing these things in a book, it’s just our perception of the story, and the bottom line is it’s different for everyone.

Even if I want every person that picks up one of my books to fall in love with every story, that isn’t going to happen. And as awesome as that thought is, it’s an unrealistic one, more so because I’ve read my share of books that didn’t work for me. I’ve also loved ones that other people found plenty of flaws with, things I didn’t even notice.

As a writer all I can do is tell a story that I HAVE to tell, and as a reader, all I can do is read the book the way my brain knows how. Not how my sister read it, or Jane Reviewer or Jane Reader. Just as me, and hope that out of every handful I devour, at least one will be a story I enjoyed so much I wished it didn’t have to end.

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