That’s Obvious!

This was the poster on my door as a kid =)

So today I got some more feedback, and I felt inclined to argue with some of it. Not in a “you’re wrong” way, but more of a “well I said this, isn’t that enough?” kind of way. It’s not particularly useful to do this, so I held my tongue, but did ask questions that hinted toward this. The answers provided were useful in helping me determine just why what I said was ambiguous. This is something I suffer from as a writer, and it is something that when criticized I have to ask a lot of questions about. I think it comes from being an actor. On stage you have lots of help telling a story. There are sets, lights, costumes, etc. You don’t have to establish when and where you are at every given turning point in a story like you do in a novel.

This is a reason I ADORE my betas! I need to know what was vague. When I read my book, I see it unfold just like a movie. It’s a fun ride, and one I really enjoy, but I’ve seen it too many times. I can walk you through scene by scene,  almost line by line. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great to be able to respond to questions and comments with 100% certainty what the answer is, and why I thought it was clear. It’s a curse because, since I know all the answers, clarifying them for everyone else is a lot of hard work. I fear overstating the obvious and/or giving away things early and ruining tension.

These are things I often deal with in life in general. I was told I was not smart for many years, which I understand is not entirely true. I’m first to admit I hate math, HATE IT, but I know now there are other types of intelligence. That being said, I sometimes fall into a bad habit formed when I was young. If I learned something fascinating, like that our currency is no longer determined by the gold standard, I would try to slip this into conversation as a way to prove I wasn’t a moron. I would usually do this and expect one of two reactions:

  1. “The devil you say, I don’t believe you.” (Or whatever the 21st century equivalent that you might prefer)
  2. “I didn’t know that! You’re so smart.”

Unfortunately, the usual response was “Well duh, everyone knows that. Why did you bring it up?” The fact that this happened a few times as a tween made me believe that if I knew something, certainly everyone else did. It wasn’t until I took my first writing course in college that I learned this was not true. I wrote a story about Maria Callas, assuming everyone knew she was a famous opera singer. In my entire class, two people knew that, and one of them looked it up after reading my story. However, I am certain this is where my fear of stating the obvious comes from.

I will discuss “the fear of giving things away early and sacrificing tension” tomorrow 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. David said,

    May 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I remember that poster from your room when we were growing up!!!

    • kyoske said,

      May 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      It’s a fun poster. It makes me remember how easy life used to be.


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