Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You can't lick the Beta...

I’ve been blogging a lot lately, both here and at eXcessica, about the vagaries of communication. As writers we need to believe we’re good at it. In most cases we are. There’s one factor, though, that we can never be sure about: the reader’s interpretation.
This same factor can waylay us just as easily in conversation, especially between the genders and especially between lovers. I mean, who can honestly say they’ve never tripped up in this fashion? It’s so easy to do.
Example 1:
Steve: “Oh, yeah, baby…do you like big cocks?”
Edie: “No, honey. Yours is perfect.”
Ouch! Which part do you think the man truly hears? The part where his cock could not possibly be improved upon, or the part where she says it’s a shrivelled little acorn?
Example 2:
Helen: “Troy! Are you masturbating?”
Troy: “Sorry, honey. I didn’t want to wake you. You need your sleep.”
Hmm. So I imagine that Helen may have heard “Fuck you’re looking old. At least Mrs. Palmer knows what I like and she never says no.”
And the list goes on. From a male perspective it feels like women have the advantage in this regard, if for no other reason than their memory.
Jeff: “Oh, baby…I love your ass. It’s unbelievable.”
Anita: “Oh? Really? Well, back in June of '05 I distinctly recall you saying how you were fond of really big asses.”
Jeff: ‘Uh…”
Anita: “So I’m fat, is that what you’re saying?”
Jeff: “Um…no…”
Anita: “Oh? So you’re lying about loving my ass, then?”
Jeff: “Kill me.”
To shift back to the subject at hand…
I’ve long known I’m not the most obvious writer in the world. Metaphors and analogies abound, and shadings…lots of verbal shadings. The trouble is, as a writer, you always know what you mean, and believe it will be clear to the reader.
This is where beta-reading really pays off. I’ve been very fortunate lately to have our own lovely Rozlyn Sparks scanning a couple of my works in preparation for submission. The feel she has for my style of work is amazing and it has enabled me to carve the rough edges off the stories.
Just wanted to give you public props, Roz. I can’t wait to read more of your work, too.


Secretia said...

All women are sensitive about our ass sizes.

Rozlyn Sparks said...

Willsin you are too kind! Thanks for the props. I have to say though, I really do enjoy reading your stories.