Throughout history people have claimed to see the unexplained and the mysterious. Some things have been explained by science. Where superstition has filled the gaps we now can test and come to concrete answers. With the dawn of the scientific age, knowledge is no longer hidden in the shadows. Not only has science blown the lid off superstitions but it has provided better medicine and knowledge of biology, the earth, and universe. Science has become such a powerful tool of discovery that some proclaim all mysteries will one day become answered through this process. However, this powerful tool has made some become arrogant.
Some assume things like ghosts, angels, and demons are nothing more than silly superstitions. The things that people see that they cannot explain are their imagination, illusions, or hallucinations. I find this to be incredibly arrogant. It lacks nuance, and is frankly dishonest with some of the evidence presented. Now, I do acknowledge that some cases, maybe most, can be explained by natural phenomenon. An unknown breeze, alcohol, or drugs are all possibilities. The easiest way to not think is to completely dismiss or believe all these stories. Those who claim it is all nonsense fail to take into consideration there are many spiritual encounters that have incredible consistency. For example, those terrorized by demons often exhibit claw marks of three in places they cannot reach or are terrorized at 3:00 AM. That of course isn’t hardened scientific proof, I do acknowledge that. However, mass hallucinations do not exist, and if multiple people report the same thing with detailed accounts, I believe they should be considered.
Speaking from experience, those who have encounters with the supernatural often feel isolated, that we cannot talk to anyone or they will think we are crazy or superstitious nuts. I’m one who is knowledgeable of science, what the mind is capable of and the tricks it can play, and look for other explanations before jumping to conclusions. However, in this world there is evil and sometimes that evil defies naturalism. In spirit of the holiday, if there is someone you know that shares a paranormal encounter, listen. You can choose what to do with the information, but at least listen. Maybe just maybe they aren’t crazy and there is a reason you are hearing this story.
Previously I wrote how I feel that people often do not want the level of honesty they ask for. Often our friends and family claim they want absolute honesty from us, but if we give it, despite being gentle, it backfires. I recognize this isn’t always the case, but it is something that appears to happen quite frequently. For us writers, feedback is essential to our business. We need to know if our stories and characters are relatable to our audience. Honesty of people also plays a role in characterization. Characters are believable based on their interactions with each other and the world around them in the story.
It is difficult when you spend months or years crafting a tale and making it available to the public. Will readers enjoy it? Will your audience connect to the characters as well as you have? Just as we ask for honesty in our relationships, us writers should not only ask for, but accept honest feedback when it comes. When we put so much of ourselves into a book, we must fight our urge to get defensive when someone doesn’t react the way we would like. A book an author has written is like his child, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss any criticism.
Sometimes though readers simply miss the point or bring their own presuppositions to your novel and that taints their experience. Sometimes there are things us authors can do to remedy that, but usually not. For my first short story I got feedback that it needed more to the story, but that was at a time when both sequels were published and “more” was already available. Some of my feedback, especially with the first book, was a little disappointing but incredibly valuable. Everyone will form an opinion on your works, that is inevitable, and like all opinions, discernment must be utilized.
In order for authors to create well-rounded characters they must be familiar with real people and themselves. Honesty, and how people react to it is a key component to crafting characters. How well will the cast within the story respond to honesty? Do some prefer lies? No? Why not? There are many people in the real world that do. These are things that we must ponder. Not only though how a character responds to honesty, but why do they react in a certain way? This is where my observations on honesty in the last post ties together with my writing. I hope that as I continue to learn about others and myself I am able to better hone my writing skills.
This is a fictional short story I wrote and narrated. If you are feeling generous you can listen to it on YouTube and follow me on there too. You can watch it here. Otherwise the audio is below. This is something new I wanted to try and my goal is to do a story narration every 1-2 weeks.