How well do we understand our own writing?

Recently, a gentleman did a review on Milk Fever.  It was a complimentary review, which was a relief, but what surprised me most about it, was that he managed to find the very heart of what the story was about.

Why do I consider that strange?  Why was I surprised?

Well, because I didn’t know what the story was about myself.  If anyone asked me, I fumbled. That’s a terrible confession, I suspect, for an author to make; to not understand their own writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew a great deal about the characters, the setting, I could discuss the themes, point to the symbolism. I intentionally wrote the two main characters in different genre styles. I was aware of plot and technique; the nuts and bolts of writing.  But I had erected such a large structure, and my face was pressed close to the design, that I couldn’t see what I’d built.

Should I feel stupid for not seeing what was right in front of me and what someone else  easily discovered?  Possibly, but in truth, I’m just happy that the book’s heart has been found.  And I really don’t mind that I wasn’t the one to find it.

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4 Comments

Filed under authors, books, fiction, Reading, reviews, Uncategorized, Writing

4 responses to “How well do we understand our own writing?

  1. Sometimes readers find meanings and subtextes we were not aware of… 😉

    • I wonder if it’s the sense of distance that does it?

      • I think it’s editor/reader’s mind. Ever noticed those “how to write” books done by editors instead of writers who analize written works, but have actually no idea on how the writer got there? I think real writer can’t explain how they do it. Can you? I most certainly can’t! 😦

  2. No, it’s a mystery, in fact I would go as far as saying that (what I consider to be) my best writing didn’t even feel like I was writing it. It was all so effortless, and ready formed in my mind, as though it was coming from somewhere else.
    Ooooh. Spooky.
    But where…?

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