The Subtle Beauty of Unexpected Questions and Subjectivity

The Subtle Beauty of Unexpected Questions and Subjectivity

Next Tuesday, I’ll be meeting up with a local community’s book club who recently featured THE MUSE UNLOCKED as one of their possible book selections. I’ve been told that a few dozen people have signed up to take part!  I was thrilled to be asked to join the group for a ‘Meet the Author’ discussion of the book and look forward to talking with the group directly. I’ll also have available signed copies of both THE MUSE UNLOCKED and OUR SEASONS for any readers who may be interested in making a purchase while I’m there.

 

It’s an opportunity most of us never get to experience — hearing directly from readers experiencing our work.

 

As writers, we know the story that we intend to tell but like any piece of art there is the intention behind my work and then there are the multitudes of interpretations that subjectivity can deliver. Only when readers are kind enough to share with us their interpretations of the meaning behind scenes or direct quotes from the book, character motives, symbolism and feelings about setting, tone, the book’s voice and story structure, do we get a sense of how skillfully (or not so skillfully) we did in conveying that intention. Some writers seem to go out of their way to mask their intention and leave much up for interpretation. I certainly believe poetry can provide a flexible canvas to do that and am always invigorated learning that a particular poem of mine was written universally enough that it has touched someone who found their own story within the lines of my verse. That is a beautiful gift to receive from a reader. With my short stories and novels, I’m not quite so mysterious with my storytelling. My objective is not to taunt the reader or make them work harder to figure out what is happening. I do hope to entertain and affect them in some way and enjoy entering and exiting a scene in the thick of the action, but that’s a personal writing style choice and one heavily influenced by my love of film and television since I could crawl.

 

I’ve prepared some general conversation-starters about THE MUSE UNLOCKED for next week’s event which I enjoy making available to book club groups who wish to launch their own discussion of the book, whether I’m present in person or virtually. Should you happen to be a book club leader who is planning on featuring my book, be sure to contact me so I might provide you these bonus materials. You can email me at chris@chriskuhnauthor.com. Whenever I take part in any kind of group discussions or panels, I find that one good question from me usually leads to a series of even better questions from the readers themselves. And finding out what they want to learn and what has piqued their interest the most also provides me a lot of wisdom about my readers and what their imaginations crave. One simply lights the match and watches it spark.

 

I also know that as with any good discussion, questions will arise that I could never see coming and similarly, there may be some observations shared which had not even crossed my mind as I wrote the book. That’s happened on several occasions since then and it’s been helpful as I start to work on the sequel THE MUSE UNGUARDED in building what I hope will be a more compelling story for those returning to these characters.  That’s certainly my objective, as I imagine it would be for most writers. We want to get it better at our craft. And if we have some devoted readers, we want to deliver for them an incredibly enjoyable reading experience. Your time is valuable. If I’m going to monopolize it with my words, I want you to feel it worth your time afterward.

 

Aah, questions. I love them. They only make us think more about what we are writing, why we are doing it and how we approach our work. I hope you’re ready for my questions, book club members. I can’t wait to hear from each of you what is stirring in your mind and heart.  😀  xo ~ Chris K.

 

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