I find myself with some degree of sympathy for Annie Rroulx (who wrote Brokeback Mountain) and J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter series.) Proulx has said that she wishes shed never written Brokeback Mountain and Rowling seems fated to be forever correcting readers. I, of course, have a much small fan base but, at least in my case, it points to possible weaknesses in my writing. In one of my novels, in one scene, someone asks the protagonist a question, to which he replies with a lie. I apparently did not make clear enough the subtext of the answer. That subtext is I dont expect you to believe me, I expect you to pretend to believe me so we dont have to bring this unpleasantness to a boil in public. When his antagonist asks another prying question the characters response ends with, Do you want to die on this side of the mountains or after weve crossed them? Again, there is a subtext: Its a bluff. Its called playing with your opponents head. He realizes that the outcome is not a foregone conclusion and that if he does beat his opponent hed better bring his lunch because, at best, its going to be an all-day job. It is incredibly hard to present the subtexts, which are so subtle, without basically telling the reader in so many words. And that defeats the inherent subtlety. And if you give the reader the subtexts youre telling, not showing. Sometimes you just cant win for losing.
Posted on: Wed, 31 Dec 2014 04:35:32 +0000
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