In the most recent chapter of my interactive writing experiment, Write A Novel With Me, I introduced (or at least referred to) a new character named Lauren. Since its posting, there seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether Lauren is a girlfriend, a sister, or even a mother, which has led a couple of readers to ask me directly, “Who is Lauren?” My answer to them:
“You tell me.”
To clarify, the point of this experiment is to have the reader decide where the story goes after each chapter. This initially meant answering the question I pose at the end of each chapter. But after posting this chapter, I’ve realized now that there is another level to this that is much more hidden — a subtext, if you will — and that is how the reader interprets what I’ve written. Now, I could go back and add a little something here or a small phrase there that would help clear up this dilemma, however, that would go against the point of the experiment. Most books will include chapters that are left open, or include vague or unclear elements in order to sustain a level of suspense and keep readers reading, and there are plenty of stories that are left up to interpretation, which allow for strong debate. In this regard, that’s all this is — and isn’t that the point? If something I write is unclear, or could have several different meanings or interpretations to it, it’s up to the reader to give me their answers based on those interpretations, which could very well alter or change the story in significant ways depending on how the story is read and what clues each individual decides to pick up on. Did I mean for this to happen? Certainly not, but it does fit in quite nicely as part of the fun and the creativity I originally wanted to bring to this project.
Who is Lauren? That’s for you to decide.