Writer’s Hats

When writers read we tend to put on different hats while perusing the written word.  Whenever we put on our Reader’s Hat, we enjoy a story just like anybody else.  But in something of a balancing act we also wear our Writer’s Hat, which means we’re compelled to analyze and pick it apart along the way.

The same goes with architects when it comes to buildings.  People like me look at a building and say, “Wow, that’s impressive looking with all that solid stone.  Ew, what an ugly gargoyle!”  An architect will look at the same building and say something like, “The symmetry of the structure is consistent with the solid foundation.  Oh, what an appropriate gargoyle!”

So when writers are reading a story, we tend to appraise it with remarks like, “The plot was believable and the structure made the words flow.  Oh, what an appropriate metaphor!”

The thing is, we don’t want to be blatant when we employ this or that technique to our writing.  One of my beta readers is also a writer, and I kind of like it when she points out “Aha!  I see you did this!”  But that also means in a way I like it when the other beta readers don’t point out such details.

We want the readers to have a seamless experience, and if somebody comes up with “Aha!  I see you did that” we suspect being a little heavy handed in the craft.  If your character might as well be wearing a sign that reads plot device around his neck, then something needs to be done with him.

Considering I’ve just come off a reading binge (for the sake of research, mind you), this topic is still rattling around in my head.  Maybe I’ll take a break and grab a bowl of cereal, and you know I’ll read the back of the box … Aha!  I see they did that….”

4 thoughts on “Writer’s Hats

  1. The back of cereal boxes can serve as great inspiration.
    That’s an interesting perspective.
    I’ve recently been analyzing that sort of thing in myself – I watch a movie, and seeing the story unfold, I think of what will happen next. If it happens the way I foresaw it, then I feel somehow proud of myself. If the other people I am watching with did not see it coming, it makes me feel like more of a storyteller. If they did, then it’s sad because that means that the movie is an uninteresting cliche. When things don’t go according to my plan, I then judge the plot against my idea and see which one would be better.
    I have to force myself to shut out the writer in me and just enjoy reading or watching without thinking too much about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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