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Sunday, September 24, 2017

The reader's imagination is a powerful writer's tool

cj Sez: A lot of the passion, or eroticism, a reader finds in a story is often the part that’s left unwritten. For me, what one imagines to be residing between the lines of a story—the perceived hidden meanings—can be more erotic than detailed descriptions.
The calendar says Autumn; the temperature does not.
The reader’s imagination is a powerful tool for writers.

 Writers can never predict how their words will be interpreted because their readers are coming from a multitude of backgrounds, and each has a different set of life experiences. That’s both exciting and fearful. Words, syntax, and semantics have to be as exact as we can make them, all the while knowing that the reader will most probably interpret them differently. Yet it is unfair and insulting to intelligent readers to tell them what is meant through the use of Italics and adverbs attached to dialogue.  Example: “How dare you do that,” she exclaimed angrily. (Suggested alternative: “How dare you do that!” This draws the reader into the story by allowing him or her to place their own word emphasis.)

I’ve had the pleasure of having a reader tell me how much she enjoyed (or did not enjoy) a particular scene or dialogue exchange. When I asked why, her interpretation of the scene or dialogue was nowhere near what I had intended. Obviously, words do not have universal meanings. In particular, writing with and about passion and eroticism tends to invite a lot of critical judgment and opinion.

Erotic is far more than the sexual and sensuous description.

For me, the definition of erotic is nebulous. It is sitting on the floor of a darkened room immersed in music…it is snowflakes melting in my eyelashes…the smooth caress of summer breezes...the warmth of the sun…the whistle of an elk and the cry of a loon in the northern is pleasure that fills me with laughter and pain that makes my heart ache…it is intelligence with a quick wit and gentle humor…it is the harmonics of a deeply resonant baritone…the touch of a guiding, strong hand at my waist…it is the fragrance of herbs crushed between the palms of my is the touch of silk, satin, skin on skin…the velvetiness of a baby’s cheek…the taste of dark chocolate melting on my is the aroma of a pipe and the coarseness of a woolen shirt…it is the heady sheen of an athlete…it is a decision made confidently that culminates in success…it is trees dressed up in spring green or autumn blaze…pewter clouds and blue skies…it is sounds, feelings, sights, smells, tastes, touch, memories…it is imagination.

Okay, that’s all for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on and I’ll try to do the same.

“Bad Day at Round Rock” in The Posse Western anthology of 8 short stories @99 cents
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