Kell Willsen

The Problem of Perception

by , on
6th November 2018

Beta-reader feedback is a funny beast. Absolutely essential to the development of the story, and at the same time a fascinating cross-section of how the exact same story can be interpreted differently by different people.

Earther 27 is in editing now, and I’ve received all the feedback from this round of testing. The story has been described as science fiction, genre fantasy, literary fiction, low fantasy, and adventure. One reader commented that I should age-up a child character, because this is a book for adults, and adults don’t want to read about children. Another reader advised me to simplify the language in places, because this is a YA story, and younger teens won’t be able to understand it.

And that’s before you get to the people who have only heard me outline the idea. I talk about the situation with Outsiders conquering the Land and smothering the cultures there, while the Land’s original inhabitants fight amongst themselves over who’s most to blame; and everyone I meet tells me that my story sounds like an event in the history of their own culture.

And that’s fantastic! Because the problem of perception is only a problem if you hold to the idea that the author of a piece of fiction is the only one who can provide its interpretation. Is Earther 27 for kids, or adults? Is it genre or literary fiction? Soft sci-fi or low fantasy? Which real-world places and events did I base it on?

You decide.


Earther 27 will be available for pre-order soon.