naraht: Illustration of Tennyson's "Mariana" (art-Mariana)
Naraht ([personal profile] naraht) wrote in [personal profile] manifesta 2010-08-03 01:12 am (UTC)

As an author I'm always struggling with the implicit/explicit distinction. Intent strikes me as a bit of a red herring, because "I didn't intend to step on your foot" is never really sufficient defense.

So we're down to reader reactions and this is even more sticky because there is no single entity that is "the reader." In writing stories I end up wondering how much I am justified in aiming my writing at a narrow subset of readers, who somewhat inevitably end up being those who think and interpret in a way similar to me. Trying to subtly cue readers in to implicit *isms in the text is really, really hard, and whether an author succeeds or fails seems to come down to authorial talent (or the lack thereof).

It doesn't help that I just read a book of literary criticism about "Lolita" and every essay offered a completely different version of what "the reader" concludes from the novel. (Maybe I as an author am aiming too high by pondering Nabokovian levels of ambiguity.)

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