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Common Sense Ain't so Common

            Well hello everyone. I hope you all had a good holiday. I did. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I did have a good time over someone’s house and had what had to be the best Macaroni and cheese on the planet! Mmm… I feel so fat cuz I ate so much, but I allowed myself to pig out this weekend. As of today, back on my regular diet. Anywho, that has nothing to do with writing. So let’s get started.

            The title’s odd, isn’t it? Well, it came to me when I asked someone to do something and it was quite clear that I wanted them to do it a certain way, but apparently because I didn’t spell it out to them, they didn’t do it. So I said, well wouldn’t it have been common sense? Apparently not.
            In any case, it got me to thinking about how important it is in writing to say what you mean and mean what you say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let someone read something and they say this isn’t clear? Was this what you meant? And I’m like, well, it was obvious.

            I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not and that what’s clear to the writer, because we know and have so much history on our characters and the circumstances of the story, is not always clear to the reader. Even when it is clear, because everyone has a different life experience, just because the writer sees it one way doesn’t mean the readers will see it that way.

            For instance, J.K. Rowling may have thought that Ron and Hermione had some basis for a romance and were compatible, but many of her readers, myself included, didn’t thing it believable enough. Really, bickering? And getting a book to tell you how not to be a jerk? But the writer made it so. Who am I to say she was wrong?

            Even so, when we do spell it out and when we do outright say or it is “The Word of God” (I mean the writer said and confirmed it), readers will still make up their own interpretation. Fanfiction is a giant indication of that. I had a story, a fanfic actually, and I honestly answered a question about the story, but by that time I had taken my readers on so many twist and turns, they didn’t believe me when I said there was nothing more to a certain plot element I had dragged out. They didn’t believe me until I got to the end and nothing had come of it.

            But can we really blame our readers. We writers are sneaky little people. We can say one thing, but depending on the direction the writing takes us, we end up in an entire different direction. Sometimes we just aren’t truthful at all for the sake of not spilling the story. J.K. Rowling outright lied on many occasions I recall.

            My point is no matter how we writers try to spell it out to our readers, they’re going to come to their own conclusions anyway, and the things that may be obvious to us aren’t obvious or apparent to them. Common sense aint so common people. The same thing goes with writing. No matter how clear you make it, there’s always someone who’s not going to see it the same way. So write what you mean and mean what you write otherwise it can get you in trouble. And even when you do that, there will always be someone who says you weren’t clear enough.

          Clarity is the key people and as I edit my novel, I'm finding that to be more true than ever, but not just in writing, but in real life too.

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