I’m told that people like the honesty in my writing but figuring out what is honest can be difficult, like trying to figure out what people mean with the words they choose and their motivations. Sometimes even they don’t know.
As humans, we are prone to ascribing motivations to people that may, or may not, be true. “Well, he said… but what he really meant was…”
Likewise, “Did he really mean what I thought he meant?”
As authors, we have the power to ascribe motivations to our characters, but we shouldn’t forget this ambiguity. Characters may not be sure of the motivation of other characters, they may ascribe motivation incorrectly and our characters may not even know their own minds.
We get to help them discover it.
And sometimes we have to step back, stop trying to figure it out, stop trying to be clever and just take things at face value.
At times like these, it can be nice to just sit down and write a story where events happen and we don’t have to ascribe meaning to them. We don’t have to try to figure them out.
People will usually try to ascribe their own meaning to the events anyway, as you may have experienced at one time or another.