Today I want to talk about writing books we all care about, and making sure we're telling the stories we love. For my entire life, I've loved creating and talking to myself. For some reason, these definitely go in hand. But that isn't my point. My point is to not let anyone, no matter who they are, dictate what you are writing. We all love the things we love, and we can't help it. Those things are ingrained into our souls, and they are a defining factor to our personalities.
I'm super passionate about this because for most of my life, my mom has tried to "sell" me on writing a "guaranteed bestseller." The only problem is that they're contemporaries. I write Science Fiction and Fantasy. I used to write in the contemporary/real world genre because that's what was popular, but that's not where I felt I belonged in the writing community. I liked to escaped my normal life, and no offense to my mom, but I don't feel like writing books based on the California Vacation From Hell (it is funny, but there is no plot to it...) and my sister's journey.
We were sitting at the dinner table the other night talking about my sister's journey, and how I'm guaranteed a bestseller from this.... my sister got super uncomfortable, and I knew in the deepest darkest depths of my soul that she doesn't want me to write that book. My sister is a private person, and I feel as if I would be exploiting her story that way. Plus, her story is a little too close to home, and all too fresh. It's something I don't like thinking about because her health is frightening. Last year, around this time, she was diagnosed with Lupus and as well as she's doing health wise, she's still struggling with her mental health. This is because she's autistic, and we fear that she has some form of PTSD from her experiences. Like I said, it's way too close to home, and I know I would never be able to write that story justice. It's also because I don't have the skillset to write a contemporary.
So, in other words, write the story you love.
I want to tell you all a little story. When I was a freshman in college, I decided I wanted to participate in my very first *official* NaNoWriMo. I wasn't in high school, and I finally had the chance (my grades ended up regretting this decision, but writer me didn't). I got the idea two weeks out when I was watching my favorite trashy reality show, Big Brother. Something in me told me I had the idea. The idea that would get my career to where I wanted it to be. It was one of those moments where I knew I had something different, and all I wanted to do was think about this idea. Five years later, and I am still thinking about it all the time. It's probably my favorite thing to think about.
As time went on, I began to delve deeper into the Science Fiction and Fantasy sides of television. I've always loved TV more than movies, and when I discovered The 100, that's when my book began to take a turn into what I consider the better direction. My characters always felt a little flat? Like something was missing. When I began using character inspiration from Bellamy, Finn, Clarke, and Octavia, even a little bit of Jasper, these characters seemed to have flourished and have a whole new dynamic. I don't think my book would be what it is without these characters. Not only are three of my characters based off actors from the show, but their characters helped me shape their counterparts.
This is the story of my soul, and I don't regret starting this writing journey.
A lot of the things I love about this book is because of The 100, and it's not all directly inspired by the show itself. Months ago, I was listening to an interview with the showrunner, Jason Rothenberg, on my favorite podcast Meta Station. There was one thing that he said that really stuck with me because it's something I think I can do with my own writing, and that's to find way to make the story darker. The world I created isn't a pretty one. There's blood on everyone's hands, and it is not pretty. That quote has definitely brought some scenes that were dark to an even darker state. It's made the book a better one.
If I listened to my mom's advice, I don't think I would have loved a book as much as this one. I've written a lot of stories, across a broad range of genres, and I think that helped me discover which genre is the perfect fit for me. I didn't listen to my mom, and it's because I knew deep down that the stories I wanted to write weren't those ones. My mom hates dystopian fiction because she doesn't understand why people would imagine a world like that, and I don't think she realizes there's more to those stories than the face value meaning. Most of the time, they're dealing with political and social issues of the world at its current state. I love the idea of taking something in our own world and twisting it to make a dark story. These are the stories that stick with me because I won't ever experience them.
I'm a character writer, and I think writing characters with dark backgrounds, and darker futures is something that speaks volumes to me. I'm a happy person, like so much so that I asked my mom why I am always happy, and I don't like writing characters who are very me. I took aspects of me and aspects of the people who inspired these characters, and changed them to fit this world. That's fun to me. There's nothing better than making a world we will never know.
I hope some of you found this insightful, motivating maybe? I'll chat soon!