Room for Interpretation

I have always felt that a writer writes a book. A reader reads the book.

Together they make a story.

The words I read will be filtered through the unique and specific lenses of my own personality, experience, and values. The story I end up with will be slightly different from the one anyone else gets from the very same words.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s what makes storytelling powerful and meaningful on a personal level. It’s what gives a single author the ability to personally affect multiple individuals and have an intimate dialogue with each and every one of them.

This is why it is incredibly frustrating when a writer hits us over the head with things in a story–telling us not only what is happening, but demanding that we interpret the events in this specific way, and feel these specific emotions as a result.

This happens a lot when an author has a distinct ‘message’ they’re trying to communicate through their work and wants to be absolutely sure the reader doesn’t screw it up. These stories end up feeling condescending and preachy, and we are often unable to connect with them on a personal level because we have been left no room to involve ourselves in the story. Read more