A Quandary in Exposure

Image by mikerigel

There’s an issue that’s been weighing on me lately, one that I think may or may not press on the minds of other writers seeking publication. It’s something I wonder about, I question, and then I throw out the window to hopefully see it splat against the wall because that’s how annoying I find this issue.

The issue? What people learn about you when they read a novel you wrote, and how much you cannot control the perception of you created by that novel and its moral or world view.

I think this accompanies the reality that when we write, the very cultivation of the words digs into our soul and pulls pieces out. I think this part is freaky and also exciting. It comes from the same part in us that rubber-necks alongside a car wreck and secretly smiles when a celebrity is arrested. It’s that kind of morbid fascination we have with pushing our boundaries, social or otherwise. It also lets us get to know ourselves and our world better, which is good, though can be a little embarrassing. But when you are writing in the hope of being published, this excavating also reveals the bones of the author to the reader (critics, friends, and bullies, alike) and that is the part that makes us recoil.

I recently did some work on my manuscript. Some necessary exposition, so to speak. This work will appear largely in the first third of the book. It deals in an aspect of the protagonists backstory that I have fought with putting in for every rewrite up to this point. I have lost the fight. My agent friend, in her editorial feedback, wanted to see this particular experience is technicolor. I wanted to hide from this particular experience. I wanted to hide from it, and yet I could neither change it nor make it less gut-wrenching.

This fact made me feel immediately exposed, like I am in front of a camera with noonday sun overhead. Whenever you write anything, it comes from a place in you. Either a place where you have been , or a truth you understand. We cannot be separate from our words, and therefore, when our words are read by others we cannot pretend it comes from a foreign place. It doesn’t. And owning that is what make this so hard. It’s also what makes it so rewarding for the reader.

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4 thoughts on “A Quandary in Exposure

  1. Vivian zuniga

    That is what makes reading such an amazing experience! And it is also why I would sit all day and read if I could without getting rigermortise sp? Of the butt. The thought that the story I am reading came from someones soul, spirit and or experience is one of the main reasons I live a.d love to read! 🙂

    1. Rebekah

      I agree about the pain in the butt created from reading. I am working on a series right now that has me fixed in it’s complexities and beauties. Such fun. I also feel I could slightly understand this author, and that may be why I am pondering the question I face in this blog post

  2. As a reader, I always wonder whether or not a character’s opinion is shared by the author. When that opinion becomes a recurring theme within the novel, I become fairly certain of it. I love that feeling.

    As a writer, I find pieces of myself in my work constantly, and I know that in writibg fiction I likely tell a reader more about myself than anything else. Oddly, I’m okay with that.

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