1. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167

    Multiple meanings and readings

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Inks, Feb 17, 2016.

    Sorry, it's me. Let's jump to the problem I am having with a current scene:

    I have three people sitting at a table and a non-human Cien (known for their good noses) is serving them a meal at an inn. (This is a really simplified description - so don't nitpick on this please.) Two of the three persons are traveling together, in this case it is a human girl bound to her master (a Tein) who has begrudgingly taken her on a peacekeeping journey. The two are recounting part of the story over a hot meal (to the third person - a human male). The master provides much of the dialogue and direction, but things turn when the girl starts tapping out the hypnotic drum beats from the drunken revelry from their last stop. This provokes the innkeeper to come over and utter a single line which silences both of them, "A bloodmoon beat? Stop. Or I'll wring the life out of your master."

    My intention is for a reader to assemble a detailed view of the characters through reading into the subtext which exists alongside the dialogue. I am a bit embarrassed to put such a line up, but I tried to key information in this way to allow meanings to be searched for. This is why I do not reveal that the innkeeper was in the war until later on. Not sure if that is 'bad writing', but I wonder if the readers can assemble the pieces... but I prefer that character development occur in ways like this. Sorry, for the disgusting subject matter... for those who know.
     
  2. Feo Takahari
    Offline

    Feo Takahari Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Just above the treetops
    I once wrote a scene where my MC abruptly realized one of her allies was a traitor and shot her. The MC spent most of it confused, trying to piece together what was going on and who the traitor was, so I intentionally made the scene confusing with the intention of clarifying it next chapter. Turned out my readers never understood what on Earth had just happened. Don't sacrifice clarity for style. It's not worth it.
     
  3. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    In 3rd Omni such secrets do not really exist, so I am a bit out of my element here. I am trying something in 3rd Limited for a side story with a human character who lacks the higher perception of non-humans. Normally, I leave certain matters like this to be a little bit open because the clues are present enough that they can be discerned from assembling knowledge about the situation and characters. Truly, the information that the woman is menstruating is not highly relevant to the plot nor is her master's sinful scent that important - but it goes to explain why the two outsiders are despised as wretched beings.

    I tried to drop a few clues in the short summary, but a friend of mine catches onto this stuff pretty quick and I was wondering if its perhaps too vague in 3rd limited. Though a lot of internal references pile up so that it becomes easier to catch these deeper meanings. Re-reading a chapter generally reveals much more about the motivations and nature of the characters then the initial read through. It makes sense why the character's act and respond in the way they do, showing how unsaid trains of thought can be followed even for characters outside the main POV.

    Guess it really isn't good though... I like these little things, but most people probably don't.
     
  4. Feo Takahari
    Offline

    Feo Takahari Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Just above the treetops
    Oh, I understand now. I do that sort of stuff too. Readers often miss most of it on the first read-through, but catch enough of it that they read it a second time and figure out the stuff they missed. So long as none of it's vital to understanding the plot, it's fine.

    Then again, I write under 20,000 words. Some authors do this at a much longer wordcount (most obviously Gene Wolfe), but they tend to be somewhat niche. Not every reader has the mental energy to keep piecing all that stuff together over a long period of reading.
     
  5. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    Even in 3rd Omni where all the cards are laid out, it becomes very difficult to follow some of the threads and yet I constantly pile on subtext. From paragraph to paragraph the POV changes and I basically compartmentalize actions with a system that sort of lets the reader flow about.

    My excerpts are in a kind of odd state - the goal is to put a selective 3rd person view from the 3rd omni to make entry into the work easier. By this, I am having to confront the lack of sensory input from human characters that everyone else takes for granted. It works, but it still is rough.

    The reason being simple, this very same scene through another Cien exists in the 3rd Omni. It becomes clear that the keeper was also making a proposition that only he would understand and this draws the ire of a rival. The layers of information for tertiary characters and power struggles exist and add tension to what is a violence-free work. Which is very unusual for fantasy, because it is decidedly adult while also being very domestic. Not everyone's cup of tea I know.
     

Share This Page