Readers Didn’t Understand My Story -WHY?

So I’m writing a story about two women and a robotic cat that acts like a dog. Woff Woff!…

My writing group read the first page then asked me, which woman owns the cat-dog? My jaw dropped. Then they read it a second time. “Oh, I see now.”

Why did it take two reads to understand what I thought was obvious? The answer is – I didn’t make it clear to the reader. The premise of the story I had in my head. I understood who the characters were and where the story was going. The problem was… I didn’t make it clear to the reader. What if this story made it to my blog? You as the reader would most likely miss something in the story and would have questions or gasp!-  stop reading my story and move on to the next thing.

This is the perfect place to interject a RANT:– The showrunner for the AMC show ‘Fear The Walking Dead,’ discussed season 4 episode 10 “Close Your Eyes,” which aired August 19th, 2018. On the aftershow live broadcast “The Talking Dead”, executive producer Andrew Chambliss talked about a scene that was interpreted differently from his vision by viewers. What he envisioned was a family of four safe and healthy inside their home. They decided to sleep/camp out in the living room over a cozy fireplace for warmth and light. Before morning they all died of asphyxiation because the chimney was clogged. Since the airing of the episode, I’ve listened to several Podcasts talking about that scene and no one got it right! Not One Person! Everyone had their own interpretation of what happened to the family. I ask the question…Why? –  The answer – The showrunner did not make it clear to the viewer. Oh, he stated that there were clues pointing to the explanation he wanted viewers to figure out, but no one uncovered the easter eggs he laid out for the story.

room

Back to MY story. Was I clear who owned the robot? No. Oh, I hinted at ownership.

Your pet is in my way‘ and ‘ Crockett was her pet, her family.’ It was clear to me who owned the robot, but not the reader. To fix my current problem, I’ll have to change the narration. ‘In a vengeful mood, Nissa threw a lithium-ion battery at Allie’s robotic cat, hitting it between its blue-grey artificial eyes.’

I’m not sure if that line will be in the story, but the reader will know who the cat belongs to.

write-without-fear

  One thought on “Readers Didn’t Understand My Story -WHY?

  1. September 10, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Hi, Darnell; I’m pleased to have connected with you. I find this discussion intriguing, but as I write only nonfiction, my perspective may be different. In nonfiction, I agree, it’s important that the reader understand what you’re trying to convey. As a lover of fiction, I’m not so sure. For me, the best stories have ambiguity; I don’t really care what the writer intends–we all bring our own thoughts and life experiences to what we read anyway. I’ve often heard best-selling writers being asked what they intended, and responding “it wasn’t that,” or “I never thought of that,” or “i’m not really sure–the characters are telling me what to say.” Too much clarity can stifle the reader’s own imagination.

    So I don’t think you need to worry much about this issue. Just write, and see what evolves!

    Like

    • September 10, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Yes Annie, I feel the same. Networking is great! I wont worry too much however I cant help but to wonder…. In another story I mention a character with 329 dollars, being brought to room 3322. A reader started to question me what the numbers represent. For me it was nothing, but the reader saw something I may go back and play with. For now though, I will take your advice and just write. Thank you for the comments.

      Like

      • September 14, 2018 at 7:41 pm

        You’re welcome…and thank you for the encouragement about my blog—It is greatly appreciated!

        Like

  2. September 3, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Have you thought of doing a android cheetah?
    I like the way you shared your story and welcomed the feedback with an open mind. This tells me you are definitely a reader’s writer instead of a writer’s writer.
    Now back to the Tea Party we go…..

    Like

    • September 3, 2018 at 2:55 am

      Yes! A reader’s writer. It’s a blessing and a curse. I cant just read a book and enjoy it. I’m constantly thinking ‘why did he write that line? why did the story start that way? Arg! Tell me more about android cheetah after the party.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. August 30, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Such a good point, and it made me think of things I’ve said in conversation where I haven’t given a backstory or prelude to what I’m about to say, and the other person is confused about what the heck I’m talking about. Without clarity, it’s quite easy for things to be “interpreted differently from his vision”; we have our own ideas in our heads, the recipient will have theirs. At least you have some feedback on the point in your story so you can make a small tweak to it 🙂
    xx

    Like

    • August 30, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Yes, when possible it cant hurt to let someone read your work to see if they interpret what you intended.

      Like

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