So hubs and I started doing what
Me: "Uh, that's not a BMX track."
Hubs: "Yeah it is!"
Me: "No, it's not! It's a construction site! Those are just piles of dirt!"
Hubs: *Laughs his face off* "No, that's a BMX track. It's organized a certain way. You just can't see it because you're not a boy."
I can't see it, because I'm not a boy.
What looked to me like this:
Looked to my husband like this:
We were riding with his dad, otherwise I probably would have done the obnoxious girl thing and made him turn around. (Although, since he doesn't read the blog, I can comfortably admit that searching for pictures of BMX tracks made me realize he might have been right...maybe.) But what he said got me thinking about perception, and of course, how perception can affect your writing and reading.
How many times have you read a book that everyone LOVED, it just wasn't for you? I can think of at least two strong examples of this in my life. But just because I didn't like the book doesn't mean it's awful (as awesome as I am.) And when people don't enjoy my favorite books, I try to let it slide. The things they've experienced in their lives, or just their general preferences (i.e., liking BMX vs. not being sure why someone would want to ride a tiny bicycle) affect their perception of a book. And that's totally OK. And one day, when (not if - it's all about positive thinking here) I get published, there will be people - multiple people, probably - who don't like my book. And that's OK too.
I don't think there are many times when writers send something off to a crit partner thinking it's totally perfect. But the funny thing is, a crit partner (or a beta reader) might look at something you wrote and have a totally different take on it. That is, in fact, why you have them. So you might have a scene you love and think makes perfect sense, and they'll write, "OMGWTFBBQ?????" in the margins, letting you know you are totally out of your mind. (Hopefully they'll also give a little more explanation as to why you are out of your mind.) On the flip side, you might have a scene that you think is not actually working, and it turns out it is. Or maybe it just needed someone else's perspective - a little chat session or a few emails exchanged with some of your writing buddies, and before you know it your villain has a back story, and your subplot fits in perfectly with the rest of your novel. You just needed someone else to see your pile of dirt as a BMX track.
Even when you're querying, it's all about perception. We've all heard stories about how a book might get rejected by one agent, only to be picked up by another the next day. Just because one agent (or publishing house) doesn't like what you've got going on doesn't mean that there isn't another one who will see that your WIP is so not a pile of dirt...obviously.
How could I mention my hubs, his motorcycle, and my pink helmet (oh, did I not mention that? Well, I have a motorcycle helmet. And it's pink. It's awesome.) without sharing one of these awesome pictures from the mini-engagement photo session we did with one of my best friends, photographer Elizabeth Atkins? There's an even better one but we're KISSING in it, and no one wants to see that...