The “Tragic Flaw” in My Writing

When I write poetry and stories, I realize I oscillate between two extremes: either I make the meaning too obvious or I make the meaning too vague.

I know meaning is all subjective – and I do like for readers to deduce their own meanings from the piece, but more often than not, I get questions like “Why did this character do that?” and “What does this (symbol, scene, character, item, event) mean?” and “I don’t understand this poem at all.”

I call it a “tragic flaw” because I’m not sure how to tackle it. When I try to amend the piece and make the meanings less vague, I get comments like “Don’t spoon-feed your reader” or “You’re telling, not showing.” Then I make some changes and the piece becomes “too vague” again.

So now… I must find the happy medium between these two extremes.

I suppose I could get a larger/more diverse readership and get more opinions. Or else I could just write the way I want to and let everyone come up with their own interpretation – but I want people to understand what I write!

Does anyone else have this same issue with their writing? What are the “tragic flaws” in your writing? What do you do to correct them? Leave comments! 🙂

5 thoughts on “The “Tragic Flaw” in My Writing

  1. I like obvious poetry and prose. I get tired of watching authors beat around the bush never quite getting to the point they wish to make. 🙂

    But fiction is interesting if your characters don’t just say, “It’s raining.”

    Instead, “Sylvia walked across the yard, sidestepping the ever deepening puddles, as rain mingled with tears on her cheeks.”

    Balance in all things, even writing.

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    • I like poetry/stories where I have to dig a little deeper to find out the author’s meaning. There’s nothing like that “ah ha!” moment!

      And yes, balance… and everything in moderation.

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  2. I think you are already tackling your flaw by trying different approaches. It is important to take your readers’ opinions into consideration but the final decision of what to add or take out is yours… Maybe an outline or a list, whether written or mental, might help you decide what needs to stay and what can go?

    I think my tragic flaw is listening too much to the critic in my head. I spend so much time criticizing that I don’t write as much as I could.

    Good luck with your poems and stories. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts!

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