Perspectives in Reading

 Perspectives in readingEach reader brings his or her  unique perspective to a novel!
Professors even discuss the impact and implications of these viewpoints in literature classes.
Different cultures, education levels, interests, and experiences all influence the ways a reader understands a novel. Many of those viewpoints contribute to our loving or hating a story.

So before duking it out with your book club members, slapping your coworker silly, or responding to a scathing review remember they might be viewing that book wearing a different set of glasses than you.

Readers can wear many different lenses or wear a favorite. Below are the Literati approved favorites!

Which lens do you tend to favor?

  1. By far the most common is the Reader’s Response Kaleidoscope . The novel is seen through the reader’s own-personal-unique culture, attitudes, experiences, and assumptions. For example my friend the rocket engineer loves bashing movies and novels where the science is all wrong-wrong-wrong! And a history buff might laugh at a novel or movie with historical inaccuracies. Some folks deem literature classics like Moby Dick boring, while others find pulp fiction to be uninteresting.
  1. Gazing through Feminist Binoculars focuses on the cultural and social attitudes towards women, male hegemony ( power ) and the issues arising from them. Problems resulting from a male or female point of view are also observed.
  1. A Race/Ethnic Lens observes the inherent injustices and effects of prejudice and racism. This often applies to Western ideologies, identity, and paradigms either implicitly or explicitly expressed by authors or their characters. High school teachers strive to have students wear this lens when teaching To Kill A Mockingbird and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
  1. Many literati wear Genre Goggles when discussing a novel. Their book club buddies get the benefit ( cough, cough ) of their pontificating on the conventions and nuances of a particular genre. From non-fiction to fiction, a text is examined by the genre’s limitations and framework. So there better be a dead body on the first page if it’s a murder mystery! And forget about a SciFi-RomCom-UrbanFantasy-Action-Western Thriller. Their bound to blow a genre gasket!
  1. Cultural/Historical Spectacles view stories in terms of a particular period’s ideologies, traditions, and orthodoxies. Texts are read and interpreted as products of their time and place. Those unfamiliar with history are often appalled and shocked by laws and practices once consider normal—being drawn and quartered for example.
  1. The Structuralist Microscope concentrates on ways the author constructs the novel to showcase ideas and themes. They study motif, diction, paradox, form, pattern, and symbols to reveal the author’s intent. Any literature teacher well-versed in this art is sure to torture her students with analytical essays. *waves hello to my students*
  1. Donning Political Shades helps one explore social class, power, and political concerns. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged requires an eye toward the political.
  1. Peering through the Psychoanalytic Telescope allows a glimpse at human behavior, human psychology, and the internal and external conflicts of the characters. Often students in Psychology 101 classes read She’s Come Undone for just this reason.

Is there a right way to read a novel? Of course not! ( Unless you’re in my class where I expect you to explore a novel’s meaning using several lenses.)

So next time your book club is stuck in a rut try assigning perspectives to your members.

Happy reading!

 Related posts: Readin’ & Writin’ 

The Shape of Crazy

crazyWriting, by its very nature, requires a bit—OK, a whole universe of Crazy! And, yes, Crazy is capitalized because it’s an entity—without form or substance—yet decidedly a force. In fact, all creative tasks are imbued with Crazy.

Crazy takes many forms, many shapes.

What shape is your CRAZY?

Line

line

Akin to 2 sides of Star Wars’ The Force, crossing the line is an indication you’ve entered the Crazy Side. You probably know exactly where the line is too, don’t you?

 

Circle

circular reasoning

Are you really Crazy? Or is Crazy your normal? If it’s your normal how can it be Crazy?
Crazy Circular logic is sooooo fun!

 

Pyramid

pyramid

The ancients claimed it was a mystical shape, the apex being Crazy Heaven. Although you are usually firmly planted at its earthly base, you know creative paradise is only achieved with pointed Crazy.

 

Gyre

gyre

It’s a swirling mass pulling you in. Like William Blake’s poem “The Second Coming” when “mere anarchy is loosed upon“ your work you behave like a “rough beast” as “things fall apart” around you. It’s all good though. Right?

 

Star

star

It is your guide in the darkness and your cosmic twinkling light of imagination. As long as your creative star doesn’t burn out you’re in artistic heaven.

 

Cross

cross

Both your salvation and crucifixion,
it’s a thorny agony resulting in your greatest creative triumph.

 

Hourglass

hourglass

You control your Crazy, allowing a finite time to pour genius into your work.

 

Mandala

mandala1

Patterns imbued with shapes, the mandala is a tool for entering a Zen-like meditative state. Your Crazy is a planned and purposeful pathway, one in which you are in complete control. Namaste.

 

Merkabah

merkabah

An age-old sacred geometry imbued with mystical powers, this Crazy mixes religion, mindfulness, intent, and wisdom to release your divine Crazy within.

 

Double Helix

DNA_Double_Helix

The shape of life, your Crazy begets more Crazy and is an intrinsic part of your DNA, the strands linking your complex thought processes.

 

So, what shape is your Crazy?

 

Related posts: Readin’ & Writing; Life & Laughter

Greek Geekery

greek godsYou did it! You opened Pandora’s Box! You told EVERYONE you were writing a book! Now, how will you lord over your manuscript while Mounting the Olympian task?

Which of the 13 Greek Gods most resemble your writing world ?

Zeus
 King of the Gods
You plan on weathering the storms of writing problems by throwing down lightning bolts of words and thundering at anyone who DARE stands in your way.
You take the manuscript bull by the horns and soar like an eagle until the scepter of publishing is firmly in grasp.

 

Hades
God of the Underworld
Your genre is the dead, almost dead, undead, or mostly dead. In fact, you regret not writing sooner! Blogging, writing, and tweeting is the 3-headed Cerberus you control.
Once at your keyboard your Cape of Invisibility shields you from earthly distractions.

 

Hermes
Messenger of the God
Social media is your ticket to fame, the caduceus of algorithms & statistics your game.
You travel to conferences, trade beta reads, communicate with readers and writers. The winged sandals of social media help flex your athletic writing muscle.

 

Ares
God of War
Writing is your battlefield. With word spear and genre sword, you attack the chaos of your imaginative mind until victorious.
Moody and unpredictable, you attack characters and plot with creative violence.

 

Demeter
Goddess of the Harvest
Understanding a book’s life cycle, you value any  grain of knowledge providing nourishment to your manuscript. You are confident in your ability to harvest theme, plot, and characters with cultivated growth.

 

Apollo
God of Music & Poetry
Your prose is lyrical, your plotting poetic. Surrounded by the Muses, you are often plagued with the idea of perfection, which often destroys your confidence and love affair with writing. With the laurel wreath of writing knowledge crowning your head you continue stroking the lyre of words in you heart.

 

Hera
Queen of the Gods
A bit of a peacock, you respect the marriage of genre and plot; the publishing empire; appreciate the advice of writing kings; and value the suffering while birthing a book.
You are prone to jealousy and revenge if you suspect a social media infidelity.

 

Hephaestus
God of Fire
You hammer out plot, using the genre tongs and conflict anvil in forging a creative masterpiece. Writing is your craft, the fire of imagination either creating or charring your volcanic word count.

 

Poseidon
God of Sea
You are flooded with inspiration, yet despite reigning over a sea of ideas, plotting earthquakes often cause a writing drought.
Strong-willed and proud, you stop horsin’ around to fish out the cause until you ride the tide of creativity once again.

 

Artemis
Goddess of the Hunt
Although a writing virgin, you eagerly enter the novel wilderness, hunting down the requirements of your genre.
Equipped with spears of blog links, your bow shoots true, striking the bear/bare truths of plotting and the deer/dear gift of prose.

 

Athena
Goddess of Wisdom
You know writing requires intelligence and skill. With knowledge shielding you from publishing myths and querying realities spearing your dreams, you apply battle-like strategy. Whether you make war or peace with your manuscript depends on your emotional armor.

 

 

Dionysus:
God of Wine
Words are your party! Chapters your orgyOften drunk on your own word count, you are prone to plotting madness and character chaos.
Be it wine, coffee, or chocolate, you need a buzz to create, and love being surrounded by a posse of writers at conferences.

 

Aphrodite
Goddess of Love
Your desire for writing is matched only by your love of the beautifully crafted sentence, the sensual turn of phrase, and the nude truth in words. Wearing the magic girdle of imagination, you laugh at plotting problems and smile at naysayers, for you are, after all, the very embodiment of writing pleasure, be it first draft, rewrites, or edits.

 

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’; Rock Your Writing; Symbols & more Symbols

Flo Write & the Seven Inspiration Dwarfs

7 dwarfsNothing feels better than words flying from brain to fingers to page! Bliss, yes?

But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes for optimum writing flow we need the help of all the seven inspiration dwarfs…because, you know, ” hi ho , ho ho, it’s off to writing work”  they go!

Doc: Prescribes practical advice and suggestions. He knows every writing ill has a remedy; every plotting problem has a cure. He’s confident a dose of rewrites or edits is a manuscript’s salve.

Bashful: Offers a bit of hesitant pondering. He realizes some plot twists must be mulled over and planned out before they can be properly executed.

Sleepy: Indulges our need for a good night’s sleep, a quick nap, or a few moments of reverie. This frees our mind to dream and create and imagine.

Happy: Bestows the you-can-do-it and positive attitude necessary for every writer.

Dopey: Sure, he’s not too smart, but he caters to our don’t-tell-me-the-odds of writing/querying/publishing. Sometimes it’s best not knowing what you’re getting into before starting. Ignorance can be bliss.

Sneezy: Allergic to sloppy syntax writing, ho-hum dialog,and banal plotting, he’s also immune to hypersensitive excuses.

Grumpy: Toughest inspiration dwarf of them all. Part critic, part realist, part churlish task-master, he doesn’t hold back when pointing out a manuscript’s weaknesses. And that’s why he’s so irritable! He knows you are capable of better!

Which inspiration dwarf do you need to get back into the writing flow?

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’Rock Your Writing  

Writing Forecast

writing forecst2Everyone understands a weather forecast!  Most of us have an app on our phone and refer to it daily.

Ever feel like a writing forecast might come in handy to explain your writing plans or frame of mind?

Imagine the convenience for those living with you! Your writing agenda is posted for the day, available to all your friends and family! Now that’s an app!

( I often tweet my writing forecast for the day. )

Here’s a few familiar terms that will come in handy and convey your present State of Writing.

Barometric pressure: The stress a writer feels from self or others to complete a task,  be it revisions, edits, blogging, social media engagement, book signings, or producing another best seller.

Blustery: Writing accompanied by swearing and ranting. Dangerous. Stay away from writer.

Breezy: Words are flowing. Interruptions OK.

Calm: Author achieves Zen-like state while writing. Will emerge fresh and renewed.

Cloudy: Writer unsure how a scene will play out on the page—or once written, they don’t know if it “works.” May need to talk it out with any available person until light of understanding breaks through.

Cyclone: Writer attempting to do many things fast. Very dangerous. Approach writer with extreme caution.

Dense fog: Writer stymied with plotting problem and/or character issue.

Drizzle: Meager word count and/or little revising accomplished.

Drought: Ideas? What ideas? I got nothin’!

Fog: Writer confused with some aspect of Facebook, Twitter, and/or website “issues.” Often techno and/or coding trouble related.

Front: Pretending to feel something or be something contrary to their authentic self. For example, feigning hope instead of dread when waiting to hear back from a beta reader/reviewer/agent. Affecting an extrovert’s banter at a writers conference when you’re a hide-in-a-cave introvert.

Frost: Writer pissed off over some comment or tweet causing unwarranted contemplation.. Approaching writer with compassion will allow them to warm up again.

Gusts: Intense but brief bursts of writing. Usually accomplished between household chores.

Hard Freeze: Writer’s response to a troller, nasty/weird comment or message, or unfavorable review. Non-engagement stops icy comebacks cold.

Haze: Writer unable to see work in progress clearly due to doubt dew and anxiety particles.

Heatwave: Writer is on fire with with words and ideas.

Jet stream: Writer on a roll! Winds of words will bring new writing conditions.

La Niña: Associated with high stress and raining words.

Lightning: A bolt of energy, ideas, or inspiration usually followed by word rains.

Mist: Writing while crying. Sorrow-filled scenes are the most common reason for misty conditions.

Overcast: General feeling of malaise brought on by many disheartening factors. Many writers will write through this, others wait for fairer conditions.

Partly sunny/cloudy: The day will involve both writing and non-writing tasks.

Pollutant: Some comment, information, task, or person that spoils your breath of fresh writing air.

Rain and any variant of ( downpour, sprinkles, shower ): Any  task, thing, or idea that falls upon you. It can rain words ( good ) or problems ( typical ) or chores ( ugh ).

Saturation: Writer will no longer write one more sentence, edit one more page, revise one more thing!!! Period!! They’ve had enough for today!!

Squall: Sudden crying jag over something really stupid. Approach writer with hugs and chocolate.

Storm warning: Angst and issues begin forming, and clouds of doubt gather overhead. May or may not pass depending on winds of successful writing that day.

Sunny: Writer feels FABULOUS about self and current work in progress.

Temperature: Writers often experience mercurial highs and lows. Approach writer during moderate temperatures.

Tornado: Writer goes over and over and over a passage multiple times. Lifting lines up only to set them somewhere else. Total devastation of chapter is often the result. Best for friends/family to seek cover until tornado passes.

writing forecast1

What’s YOUR writing forecast today!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’