October 28, 2013

Different readers interpret our writing in different ways

Dear M,

Today I wrote a few sentences on a certain topic and was amazed when different people understood them in different ways and responded according to what they read from it. I thought I had put it across in a simple and straightforward manner, but apparently it could be interpreted in multiple ways.

When we write, we need to remember this. Different readers decipher our writing in different ways based on who or what they are. We typically do not need to do anything about it. What we write is up to us. It just helps if we tell ourselves that this could be construed in another way, not exactly the way we had wanted it. We could decide to leave it thus, or we could change it. We could complicate it, or simplify it. We could choose to ignore what the reader thinks. After all, I am the writer, the author, the creator. I get to choose.

Every single sentence could transform in many ways in the eyes of the reader. If you give three stories to five people and ask them to select the best among them, you could see how varied their opinions are, and how contrasting their reasoning is, while choosing the story. One would say I like it because it speaks of destiny, something that fascinates me. Another would say, I loved the way the girl chose her priorities in life, it is something I have never been able to do. A third would say, I think this story is the best because it left me wanting for more. Yet another would say there was such a depth of philosophical logicality in the sophistication of the individual's duality that... yeah, something like that.

We cannot write to make others happy, we cannot write to make everyone think alike. But we could understand the readers' thought process better if we know that they need not read it the way we had intended it to be read.


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