That Was Quick.

Posted on: April 4th, 2006 by Anthony Rapino 2 Comments

I sent “The Box of Forever” back out, and it was promptly rejected again. This rejection, like the last, came with some feedback. The editor commented that he never got a good feel for what the box of forever was and why the main character’s relatives became caught within it.

I like to use literary devices within my horror. I like there to be layers of meaning. It seems this is a big mistake, because nearly every story I write with these elements seems to confound the editors. There was in fact a reason for the ancestors to become caught within the box, I just didn’t spell it out for the reader.

Back to the old drawing board.

2 Responses

  1. William Jones says:

    IMHO, I’d say keep working with texts that have layered meanings, but maybe try to provide a clear surface story — maybe that seems too commercial, you’ll have to decide.

    I enjoy and try my best to write stories that are layered, but that doesn’t mean all of the readers care for it — or the editors. Yet, sometimes, that deeper meaning tugs at the reader who doesn’t see it, and other times it does the same with an editor.

    With that said, every reader brings meaning to a work, so without a clear path to follow, the tale often works against the reader’s (intended) meaning, or with it.

    An example that can be made from the popular Beatles’ song *Let it Be* is:

    When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be….

    ****
    Most people read this line from the song as being related to religion. Paul McCartney was actually referring to his deceased mother “Mary,” and a dream he had in which she said to him “Let it be.”

    *****

    I don’t think that confusion took anything away from the song, or its popularity. Nor did the “choir” that was added to the track, which helped promote a dual meaning.

    Keep writing!

    William Jones

  2. Anthony J. Rapino says:

    Thanks, I appreciate your message.

    I agree about the readers bringing their own meaning to a text. There are always three factors to creating meaning: the writer, the reader, and the text itself. Of course other things come into play like the writer’s bio (if concerning lit analysis) but I consider that t fall under “The Writer”.

    I try to do as Hawthorne did. I’d like to write popular fiction that has these hidden layers added in such a way that people who just like horror can read it and enjoy it, but if someone looking for deeper meaning read it, they would find that too.

    It’s hard. But I will keep writing. Thanks again.

    -AJR

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