When I write a story, (especially flash fiction like this one, that I wrote on the spur of the moment for the A to Z Challenge) I often wonder what it means—what I as the writer meant it to mean, and how does the reader take its meaning.
I’ve written stories which I thought were literary, were the subversion of a myth, and been congratulated on writing a fairy tale; I’ve written about a boy suffering abuse and have had folks root for the abuser; I’ve killed a character and then had the readers wonder what he would do next.
The problem, as I see it, can lie in two things:
I suck at writing: My craft could be undeveloped enough not to be able to support my muse—the story hovers inside me, a shiny hummingbird, comes out on the page a slimy, slow-moving slug.
Counter-argument: Some of the folks get exactly what I’m trying to say—how do they see the hummingbird instead of the slug?
Reading fiction on blogs demands too much attention: And some readers just can’t focus well enough to read the whole story. They comment on the few words they have read, move on.
Counter-argument: Doesn’t that show my weakness as a writer, because I wasn’t able to grab the reader, pin him or her down till my story was done?
This leaves a very confused writer. Do I suck at writing? Do I give up writing fiction on my blog?
Over the last weeks of writing a story a day, I have come to the following conclusion:
I will keep writing fiction on my blog, because it challenges me, and I enjoy it.
Yes, the writing process is never complete without the readers and their reactions– but there is something to be said for perseverance.
If my craft is lacking, practice would help. If blogs aren’t the best place for fiction, well, they’re still the best place to play around and experiment. Most of the stories I have written during the challenge are in genres I wouldn’t have written but for the prompts I was sent.
It is all good.
So has this happened to you?
As a reader, have you ever come across a meaning in a story which you discovered was different from anyone else? As a writer, have you had a reader give you back a meaning to your story that you never intended?