Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Have Fun and Don't Worry About Message

Okay, you will see me wax philosophic and start to delve into deep and meaningful stuff here and there all over my blog in places.  I might even start delving into what I consider to be the big philosophical meanings and metaphors of my various works. Said discussions might get fairly complex, deep and insightful.

Most of them are things I come up with after the fact of writing the story and are more ways for me to analyze myself than to analyze my work.


I am a huge fan of JRR Tolkien and in particular, I am a firm believer in his concept of applicability.  I had come to pretty much the same conclusion before I'd ever heard the term before.

Basically, to me, meaning does not belong to the writer but the reader, and thus might be the thing that most makes me dislike George Lucas's recent ret-cons of his most famous works.

George Lucas commented that a work is always unfinished and there is always more to add to it, more to change and to make it perfect.  He is correct in that, but he then went on to disregard the people that knew the story as being unimportant since he was the creator and it was only his vision that mattered.

Let's be clear on this.

Once you write something and let it out into the public, it will take on a life of its own and it is no longer yours.  You will own the commercial rights, probably, but the story itself now belongs to anybody who reads it.  Once you have published it, you should do everything you can to avoid changing what you have already put out save for clear errors in grammar and printing.

It is sheer arrogance to tell someone that their interpretation of your story is wrong.

You don't know what their life is like, and you can't know what images will provoke what responses in a particular individual.  You can make a reasonable guess based on the fact that most people in a particular culture will respond the same way to the same symbols, but there are always outliers.

And those meanings change in a particular person.

Ranma 1/2 and the various things inflicted on Ranma by his father as training were hilarious to me when I was a teenager.

Then I became a teacher.

Even before that, you can see a fair amount of my developing dislike of Genma Saotome in pretty much any of my stories, but especially in Genma's Journal and Lost Innocence.  Just upon becoming a teacher who taught a large variety of ages and was turning somewhat protective of my students, the concept of someone doing that to any kid, much less their own, drives me bananas.

I try not to think about it too much so that I can still enjoy the comedy.

In the end, to me, the best way to get the heart of who and what you are into a story is to write a story that you would enjoy reading, that you would buy for pleasure.  All the work you do to define the characters and make the story into something fun and enjoyable will call on the essence of who and what you are.

Your personality and true beliefs will move into the story whether you want it or not.

And to me, a story is much more effective when it encourages the reader to fill in some of the blanks themselves and, even better, to make their own stories.

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