Action And Reaction And We-action

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-08-06 23:00:00 No comments

A Writer's Life: Writing And The Models - Steven Savage

I think some things appeal to people – even with flawed models of behavior and world – due to audience participation.

My take: At that point it's not the work that holds the appeal anymore, but rather the community that has formed around it. (There's more to Steven's discussion but I'm chomping out this piece here specifically.)

This is one of those things that can get very tricky and very counterproductive if not approached right. I think the fact that communities of specific kinds of enthusiasm form around certain cultural products is a wonderful thing, but also not something you can engineer or anticipate.

In other words, don't try to make something that's going to have a "cult audience"; just make something that interests you personally on the deepest possible level and see who ends up following along.

The other thing that comes to mind with this: Nobody gets to say how people react to something; they just do. But if you find that people are responding to something you've done in a given way, pay attention to that and don't try to shout it down. Good reaction or bad, just hear it out. Your best response to it is not an angry blog post in the short run but another piece of work in its entirety in the long run. You can't control other people but you can control your own reactions, and that's really where the brunt of your energy should be placed anyway. (And some arguments are best simply not engaging with, especially if their primary function seems to be to bait you into an intemperate reaction.)

Another thing Steven says, "we should set goals for how we want the work to come to life," Meaning, whether we want the work to be appreciated best as kitsch, or as something transcendent and personal, etc. This I completely agree with, although I think it's also tricky because it is a substantially different idea from managing an audience's intention. Done right, you're drawing on the audience's collective knowledge of how storytelling works, in all its forms. Done wrong, you're trying to second-guess the audience's reaction to something. The former is everything from La La Land to Shoot The Piano Player. The latter is Sharknado.

Tags: audiences interpretation writers writing