Posted: March 29, 2010 in "writing", donna o'brien, murder, perception

Perception is such a varied thing. Add to that a writer’s imagination, especially one who writes thriller/suspense novels, and a scene from a movie can come across completely different than how it was intended.

For instance, we were watching a flick this evening, a comedy — absolutely nothing scary about it. A little tension was thrown in, but that was mainly conflict between characters and a little car chase here and there, but no gloom or doom. THE SCENE: The two main characters are walking down a country road, kind of deserted, but its daylight and the sun is shining, birds are chirping — no threats to be found. (I don’t remember if birds were actually chirping, but you get the picture.) This tree appears before them, backlit by a beautiful almost cloudless golden sky. The tree is wonderfully symmetrical and its many branches are peppered with…shoes?? Yes, all sorts of different shoes have been tied together by the laces and thrown over the branches.
My first thought? OMG, what happened to all those people? Were they killed? Is that the killer’s trophy tree or his warning? Do they need to run? My teenagers and the main characters response was that it was a beautiful tree and that it was a fun and “voluntary” act to throw one’s shoes over the branches. Hmmm…my writer’s imagination took me in a completely different direction. Like I said, the movie was a teenage comedy, no dark elements. Absolutely nothing to make me think all the owners of those many shoes had been murdered.
Now, I first thought, oops is there something wrong with me? But then as I pondered my reaction, I realized that’s the part of me that allows my brain to take a single idea and turn it into a book. To be creative isn’t easy and if I thought exactly the same as everyone else, I don’t think I would be able to do that. And to be realistic, each of us thinks and reacts a little differently to each situation, just maybe not AS differently as I did.
So I am thankful for my unique perception, as dark and scary as it may be sometimes. I am thinking this is a good thing since suspense and thrillers need to be chilling, keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you want to turn that page!
And here I go back to those pages. 🙂
  1. Micole Black says:

    This is oh so true for us writers, or any artist if you really think about it!



  2. Isn't it though? I guess I was just so taken aback by HOW different MY reaction was to that of everyone else in the room. LOL

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