First and foremost, make sure you have read who won the Nevetsized Halloween contest!
Secondly, I've had a pretty interesting conversation with Scott Bailey in the comments of his post today on the Literary Lab. I decided to move some of my thoughts over here before I was really hogging the comments field.
I hope I write this clearly, because this is actually a very personal post, and when I ask for your advice and thoughts in the end, it's a sincere request.
The quick and dirty version of where the conversation between Scott and me ended up: I read, write, and think in a very different way from most people, and my writing process sometimes gets bogged down by the process of trying to convert my way to the way of most of my readers. Scott's advice was to just forget that conversion process, and write it like my brain writes it, and treat it like I'm writing it for people who read like I do, too.
That is actually a pretty amazing bit of advice, and I'm chewing it over greedily.
But there's a catch.
It runs the risk of reducing my readership.
I don't care for that risk. (a) I like the idea of a lot of people reading my stories. (b) I still hold onto to the pie in the sky hope of some day making my living from my stories.
So, really, my writing is caught up in the same dilemma that has perplex me most of my life.
Here's where it gets a little complicated and a little personal. (If you've read the thread or some old blog posts, I apologize for the repetition of a few pieces of this.)
The basic challenge lies in the distinction between inductive thought and deductive thought. Inductive thought involves reasoning from the bits and pieces to understand the whole. Deductive thought involves reasoning from the big picture down to the particulars.
All of us use both at one time or another. Most folks are pretty balanced, but tend to read, write, and learn inductively. It seems to make the most sense. You put the pieces together to get the answer. You follow steps. You gather clues and work out the solution.
Some people, like me, are inclined very strongly to deductive reasoning. This is often inexplicable to inductive thinkers, because it looks like we guess a lot. It seems like we're using our intuition. We'll state what we take as fact, be asked how we know it, and all we can say is, "I don't know?" because to us it's just apparent and we don't really understand the question.
As teenagers, we tend to get in trouble for that one. :)
It was only in the past few years that I began to understand this. For most of my life, all I knew was this emotionally crippling frustration with my inability to properly interact with others on matters of knowledge and expression. To get through school, I learned how to let myself get to the answer my way when possible and then make myself go back through the inductive steps to try and show how I got there.
Often a very frustrating experience because it's not really how I got there, and I would often introduce weird "errors" into the process. But if I didn't try to do it, people were rarely satisfied with my answers or my messages. "Okay, that sounds good, but how do you know that?" "I might be to understand better if you explained why you believe that."
And that's what I'm wrestling with in response to Scott's suggestion today. It literally never occurred to me to write the way that fits my mind, because I'm used to having to translate. It's just habit.
Now that I'm thinking about possibly doing so, it at least feels to me like I'm facing the old challenge: should I be myself or should I let myself be understood?
The former is the most appealing answer, obviously, and it's in some ways an easy recommendation to make.
But the elementary school kid in me is saying, Oh no, not that again.
So, bloggers, readers, fellow-writers, and friends, what are your thoughts on this?
Aside from the obvious fact that I'm over-analyzing myself once again. :)