How do you tell your readers without telling and only showing that the most popular interpretations of your work is wrong?

Let's say I am Stanley Kubrick and I made the movie "The Space Odyssey", that movie is often interpreted as a Nietzschian allegory of the uberman; however, let's say I don't want that movie to be interpreted that way. How do you tell your readers without telling and only showing that that interpretation is completely wrong and the more obscure and occult interpretation of the movie is the correct one? Is there any technique widely used to achieve that? Let's assume I am a filmmaker and I am making a film.

  • Hi. Could you clarify the context a bit? I don't really understand the premise of the question. It sounds like you made a film and that film has been interpreted in a way that you dislike, and now you're writing a book about your film?
    – Stef
    Dec 30, 2022 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


Simple, you can't.

Let's take the most known example: the Abrahamic religions. They basically believe in the same god, but each time a new version pops up because somebody interprets the message in a different way than another, branching out further and further to the point that there are over 300 versions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism combined.

"The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" from South Park is the perfect (yet a bit over the top) example of this. The four main charters wrote a book with the sole purpose of being offensive and gross - yet people see in it what they want to see in it. Some people viewed the main character from the book as a hard line conservative, others as a free spirited liberal, some as pro-choice, others pro-life.

The best thing you can do is write what you want to write and hope people get the message, and not be worked up about it if they don't.


You can't, you're dead.

(links to TVtropes and Wikipedia)

You have to make yourself clear in the work itself. Maybe test it on a beta audience and edit a little if they don't get the hint you intended. But once it's finished, it's out of your hands.

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