Monday, October 27, 2008

A learning experience: fiction and science

I have to confess to being a little disappointed that the first few comments on The White Road up on berated me for my lack of adequate grammar. It seemed as though they had confused writer with character; perhaps because they are unused to reading fiction, or at least fiction in any unfamiliar setting, a popular science magazine, they didn't grasp that this is a story in the first person, and the voice, the grammatical quirks, belong to my main character, Mags. That's how she speaks. Thank you so much to Vanessa, Douglas and Pierre for rushing to explain how fiction is, saving me the task of wading in to defend myself and the entire field of creative writing! Most wonderfully, both of my "critics" have rescinded: Said one:
I apologize for my hastily prepared comments, especially the reference to educated people. I was rather surprised to see that particularly well written article appear in a science journal but happy to see the merging of the arts and sciences. I do appreciate both.
and the other, who sent me a personal email, now admitted to "having second thoughts" about her comment.

After a few days' pause, I realised that it is actually a wonderful thing that people were confused - because it meant that I am reaching an entirely new audience, who is unprepared for this sort of writing, an audience used to reading journalistic articles. I was delighted to find this comment this morning from someone I don't know:
A very intense story perfectly written you can feel the cold , hear the voices, I'll buy the book.
That is, obviously, the reaction I had hoped for. Sometimes it just takes a while, but I do believe this has been a great learning experience, for me and my fellow writers in terms of how our fiction may be mis-read, and for some of New Scientist's readers who have been asked to read a little differently!

Next: Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science...The Virtual Book tour kicks off tomorrow on Keeper of the Snails, and deals, most appropriately, with science in fiction, as well as a with snail-related topics!

1 comment:

Sarah Hilary said...

Tania, what a coup to be published by The New Scientist! And what a vindication of your transition from science journalist to story-teller. Congratulations!