How To Handle Misinterpretation

How To Handle Misinterpretation

What if people misinterpret your writing? Well, there are a couple things you can do.

Being a Writing/Communications major, I took a lot of literature classes in college. Throughout those classes, one huge theme repeatedly caught my attention--one that plagues every writer, if I'm not mistaken--and that is how to interpret literature.

Now, I'm not going to write a guide for how you should interpret literature. It would take me a long time and you probably wouldn't agree with me. This is more of a look into the writer's side of things. After all, there would be no literature to interpret if it wasn't for writers.

So let's start with the scary stuff:

As soon as you publish something, whether it be through an official publishing house or a blog or a printout you've handed to your friends, the work is no longer under your protection. Up until now, you've had complete control. Nobody could read your writing, and therefore nobody could rip it apart. But we're all mature here and we all want to improve, so we know that releasing our babies to the public is a good way to unearth our faults. As long as we can stand the criticism and make constructive changes, we're all good.

But what if someone reads your work and then misinterprets it completely? There's a chance--whenever you release your darlings into the Wild Badlands of the Public Eye--that some reader is going to take a totally wacky message from your words. For example, one time I submitted a short story to a writing class, and the people who proofread it thought my main character was in a Girl Scout troop. (She was actually a cadet in a space battle training academy). This is a small example. Some different works, like philosophical essays or analytical articles, may have more important meanings that the author would prefer someone not misinterpret at all costs. It could destroy the author's entire main point.

Like I said, scary stuff.

Here, however, is the point: when I said 'release your darlings', I wasn't joking. Writers have undying love for their work, and unfortunately that love can act as a massive blinder. When my writing class asked if my main character was a Girl Scout, I blurted "WHAT?" but then instantly realized what had happened. In short, my writing skills sucked. If I wanted the story to be interpreted correctly, I should have added more genre-specific details. It was a simple fix in that case, but it made me think.

In order to avoid misinterpretation, writers must be clear. We must practice writing, re-writing, re-re-writing and editing all those rewrites. We should also depend on our beta readers to uncover muddled ideas. And that is constructive criticism at its finest. Embrace the crit. It'll help, even if it stings.

Another reminder--when you release your work, it's going to be misinterpreted by somebody anyway. There are just too many people in the world for all of them to think exactly like you. This is okay. If you have the chance, a polite correction would be nice, but most of the time that isn't an option. This is also okay. Once you've published, you have to accept the blows as they come. It could mean a) you weren't as clear as you thought and it's another opportunity for improvement, or b) they misread a detail and made a false judgment. Part of writing is being humble and resilient, and if this situation doesn't spawn humility and resiliency, then I don't know what will.

All the same, keep writing. Improve yourself, trust your audience and roll with the outcome as it unfolds.

Cover Image Credit: Lalesh Aldarwish

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?

With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot

Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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