7 thoughts on “Late Drafts”

  1. You can ima­gine those scen­ari­os, but you can’t dir­ectly implant those ima­gin­ings into the minds of your read­ers. The best that you can hope is that your words are effect­ive enough to trig­ger their ima­gin­a­tions, so that some­thing roughly sim­il­ar appears there. As a fic­tion writer, words aren’t your product, they’re your tools.

  2. Very inter­est­ing piece, Ian. A friend remarked, recently, “…the read­er gets car­ried away with their own men­tal pic­tures. You want them to do this as long as they’re see­ing more or less what you want them to see… but it can take them some­where very dif­fer­ent than you ima­gined! She was refer­ring to this snip­pet of my writ­ing. I had to dis­agree. I want to give the read­er as much free­dom as pos­sible, to explore the capa­cit­ies of my char­ac­ters.

  3. That’s a good point, Martin. There’s cer­tainly some­thing to be said for let­ting the read­er cre­ate their own inter­pret­a­tions and not wor­ry­ing too much about what they come up with. And, per­haps, these dif­fer­ences are a pos­it­ive part of the pro­cess.

  4. I think it’s inev­it­able that that every read­er will pic­ture things slightly dif­fer­ently from the author, and also from each oth­er. That’s the main reas­on I don’t like to watch adapt­a­tions of things that I’ve read.

  5. Thanks for your com­ment, Lee. I wouldn’t argue that read­ers should pic­ture things in the same way, but I’m inter­ested in how these char­ac­ters are trans­por­ted. What’s lost?

  6. Things may be lost from the author’s ima­gin­ings, oth­er things will be added. It’s a game of Chinese whis­pers which has pre­oc­cu­pied lit­er­ary crit­ics for more than a cen­tury.

    Perhaps you could cre­ate a pro­ject sim­il­ar to a game of Chinese whis­pers, where a read­er could write their under­stand­ing of a pas­sage of one of your books and you could read that and write your under­stand­ing of it? Not per­fect, but I’m not sure who else you might invest­ig­ate it. Perhaps you can think of oth­er ways.

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