“There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.”
- Isaac D’Israeli
The one thing I never do before purchasing a book is read the reviews. I don’t read reviews for two reasons: the only actual voice I want to hear inside my head is my own and I don’t know if a review is written by someone who can read well. A reader decoding meanings hidden within a text is just one part of being a good reader. The other part is decoding the writer’s true intentions. Communication within the writer-reader relationship must be identical to prevent conflict.
The Institution of Literature is situated on a two-way street. That two-way street is called “Interpretation”. There are only two kinds of people who walk along this street: those who write the text (writers) and those who perceive the text (readers). The writer’s job is to write well. The reader’s job is to read well. To graduate from the Institution of Literature, both the writer and the reader must pass their test. In order to pass the test, the writer and the reader must connect. At some point, they must share the same thought. After all, they are taking the same test.
Reading is the Sister to Writing
Reading and writing go hand in hand. Reading is to writing what hearing is to speaking. In order to be able to interpret something one needs to pay attention. There are two things a reader needs to pay attention to: what the text says and what the text means.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
- Albert Einstein
Mean What You Say, and Say What You Mean
It’s easier said than done. Reading is more than just interpreting what a text says. Yes, you understand what the text says, but that’s not to say you know what the text means. A good reader reads sentences in relation to other sentences. Reading is about connecting the dots to see the broader context. Usually, the sentence that precedes or follows clarifies the writer’s true meaning. If you think you know the writer’s true meaning, you need to think again. If you know the writer’s true meaning, then you’ve read the book.
Good readers don’t jump to conclusions prematurely and assume they have read a book just because they made it to the last page of the book.
Reading a thousand books and not being able to gain an understanding equal to that of the writers means the reader has never read a book.
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
- Benjamin Franklin
The Reader’s Role in Relation to the Writer and the Text
Don’t take it personally. The text is not about you – okay, maybe in some cases it is, but you’ll have to deal with that on your own time. The point is that you have to remove yourself from the equation. The point of reading is to gain something from the text, and in order to do that the text demands that the reader plays a role for the duration of the act of reading. The text is the locksmith. It holds many keys, but only one key unlocks the door to the writer’s true meaning. To read well, one must allow the text to do its job and guide. If the reader wanders off, he or she may get lost.
If the writer chooses to write with ambiguity, then one thing is certain: there is a true interpretation. There are no ifs and buts. The answer lies within the very text. If one cannot decipher the meaning of the text it is due to one of two reasons: the writer cannot write well or the reader cannot read well.
Meaning (intention) precedes ambiguity which precedes interpretation.
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
- Mark Twain
Artificial Intelligence Vs Intuition
“Riddle me this, riddle me that. Who’s afraid of the big, black bat?”
A good reader reads generously to understand then critically to examine. Reading generously requires the reader to actively engage with the text on its terms and not the reader’s terms. At this point, the writer has left his or her footprints. Now, it is time for the reader to follow the path left by the writer and create his or her own footprints. The moment both the writer’s and the reader’s footprints cross paths is the moment they both graduate from the Institution of Literature.
Artificial Intelligence is seeing what you already know. Intuition is seeing the unknown.
“It is better to know nothing than to know what ain’t so.”
- Josh Billings
Thanks for reading!
Win a Signed Copy of the
Centrinian is hosting a giveaway on Goodreads for one autographed hardcopy edition of Talisman Of El.
If you are interested in reading my debut novel, then enter the giveaway for a chance to win. I’d appreciate it if you add the book to your Goodreads shelf.
Are you an author? Are you looking for more exposure for your work?
We all know self-publishing used to be the last resort for writers, but, as of late, due to the success of a few self-published authors, many writers see it as another means of getting their work out there.
It’s a GIANT STEP for authors but a SMALL STEP for readers.
The biggest challenge is not whether we choose to go down the self publishing route or stick to traditions; it’s how to convince readers to buy books by self-published authors. It can be done. We’ve seen it happen.
What do you think of when you hear the word traditional publishing?
High writer credibility
Basically, what you get more often than not is satisfaction because you get a vast amount of aid from the publishers.
What do you think of when you hear the word self publishing?
Rejection from most reviewers
Responsible for marketing and promotion
Printing costs (if you’re not just distributing ebooks)
You see where I’m going. Writing the book is challenging enough, but, when you have full responsibility of the entire publication process, it becomes difficult to distinguish which task is the most challenging.
We’ll call the lists above Side Effects. These are just the side effects from the writer’s POV. We still have the reader’s POV to analyse. Just, clear your schedule for the day.
It’s not the mentality of self published authors that one needs to change. They have already decided to go down that route, so they’re ready to take on the challenge. We need to change the mentality of the readers. A self published author’s book will not gain exposure if readers don’t know about it.
We know what readers think when a traditional publisher releases a new book: it must be brilliant. Okay, maybe we don’t all think that, but we naturally assume the quality (writing skills) will be good.
What do readers think when they hear the word self publishing?
This is not good. The immediate reaction is that self published books won’t live up to books by traditional publishers. It’s no secret that self publishing is changing the book publishing industry, but it still has more negative than positive connotations.
Traditional publishing is doing its thing.
It’s time for self publishing to do its thing and change the mentality of the readers.
Change the side effects.
We don’t expect poor quality from traditional publishing. Why should we expect it from self publishing? It’s up to self published authors to step up the mark.
So, where do we start?
It all starts with the manuscript. Writing the story is one part. Turning it into something publishable is another part.
So, what do you think? Is it time for self publishing to raise the bar?
So, now that the Talisman Of El Blog Tour has come to an end, I’d like to say thank you to all the bloggers who participated. It has been a great few days. I had fun writing the guest posts and interviews, and I wanted to highlight one guest post in particular that I had a great time writing. It was a fun experience. Check out the post below.
Guest Post: The Art of Interpretation
by Alecia Stone
How someone interprets something is based on two things: how the information is relayed to you and how your mind translates it. I’ve been an avid reader for more than half of my life and one of the biggest issues I’ve had with literature is how information is presented to me. Often I am instructed how to interpret the elements of a book in order to get an understanding of its intention. That limits my imagination, and that frustrates me. The joy of reading is in experiencing something you have never experienced before. We read to escape.
Wording is the fundamental principal in the art of interpretation. Writing is comprised of one or two elements: intellect and intuition. Intellect is defined by conscious reasoning whereas intuition isn’t. Intellect yields different opinions because it is based on the belief system of the individual and intuition is based on reality.
“Of course, I thought he’d finally cracked, but then he mentioned Thomas. You see, Thomas had told him about a place called Arcadia …’ His voice trailed off, and he exhaled. ‘Arcadia is a world at the centre of the earth.” Taken from Talisman Of El, Chapter Five
The quote above is from the scene where Charlie (main protagonist), Alex and Richmond meet Derkein Odessa for the first time.
Below are two forms of interpretation in regards to the above quote.
Most of us are fascinated by the concept of alternate realities, but how can we as humans, who barely understand our own existence, expect to rely on conscious reasoning to explain something we do not understand?
How can a world exist without a vacuum?
Intellect is infectious. We are not born with it. We adapt to it.
Intuition is ignited when the individual is ready.
We all know how to walk. Let’s all learn how to fly.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post.
Time to celebrate the New Year with a massive contest. Not only will Talisman Of El be free to download on Amazon for 4 days between Jan 21st – 24th, but you can also enter the Talisman Of El iPhone 5 Sweepstakes for a chance to win am amazing gift bundle or one of two runner-up prizes.
Fancy winning an iPhone 5? How about an Amazon Gift Card? Great. We’re giving away both and more.
Click here to find out more.
Contest starts – Jan 21st, 2013
Contest ends – Jan 25th, 2013
Entrance is restricted to those aged 13 or over.
To keep up-to-date with all current and future contests, visit the Talisman Of El facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TalismanOfEl
I have accomplished many great things since becoming a published writer, and I must say having my first newspaper feature has been one of the highlights of my publishing career. It was a great feeling seeing the article in my local newspaper – the Barking and Dagenham Post. Everything seems so surreal right now. The article was featured in the entertainment section – What’s On – of the December 12th edition.
For those not familiar with the story, check out the blurb below:
WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
Population: Human … 7 billion.
Others … unknown.
When 14-year-old Charlie Blake wakes up sweating and gasping for air in the middle of the night, he knows it is happening again. This time he witnesses a brutal murder. He’s afraid to tell any one. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.
Charlie doesn’t know why this is happening. He would give any thing to have an ordinary life. The problem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home. He belongs with the others.
Grab your copy from amazon now. Available in the Kindle Lending Library.
This month’s cover love goes to When The Siren Calls by Tom Barry.
Restless and neglected, Isobel is suffocating in a stagnant marriage. Suave and charismatic Jay is fighting for survival. An invitation to visit Jay’s resort in the hills of Tuscany sparks Isobel to imagine a life of freedom and excitement.
Dismissing her husband’s objections, Isobel pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of searching for a holiday home. After fighting anguished guilt, she abandons herself in a passionate affair, with her controlling lover encouraging Isobel to push beyond her sexual boundaries.
But all is not as it seems in the idyllic Tuscan retreat, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. She is one player in a dangerous love triangle, unsure whether Jay is her saviour, or her nemesis. As her world falls apart, she must choose between the woman she thought she was, and the woman she has become.
You can purchase When The Siren Calls on Amazon.
Check out Barry’s website here.