I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently on what I admire in different authors. When I was in the process of getting my undergraduate degree, I was able to learn from some of the best professors, in my opinion, in the world. You could see it in their eyes that this teaching thing that they were doing was exactly what they wanted to do. From Gary Craig Powell, who recently published his book Stoning the Devil, to Monda Strange Fason and Stephanie Vanderslice, I was able to study writing under the instruction of real writers. Writers, who like me, sometimes put a crappy pen to crappy paper and created shit writing. Writers, who like me, didn’t always get it right, sometimes threw things out, or had to work and work and work on the same idea for a long time before the idea became something worthwhile. These writers are so real to me because they showed me what the real writing life looks like, and I am nothing less than thankful for them everyday. I will never forget some of the things that they taught me, through their words and through their actions.
These people taught me about writing, but there are also those who taught me about creating life in the pages. As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on the research for a book that I’m hoping to start writing in the next couple of weeks. This research has caused a domino effect on the thoughts that I have, and the questions are pouring out of me faster than I can answer them. The most imperative question that I am working on now is deciding who my intended audience will be.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love young adult literature, and I love it all. Fantasy, paranormal, romance, doesn’t matter. Sarah Dessen, John Greene, and J.K. Rowling wrote books that changed me. I’m in love with all things young adult. But the question has become important because the story I’m writing requires a main character who is at minimum eighteen. That age can work with either group, adult fiction or young adult fiction.
I keep thinking about what I love to read and why I love to read it. What sets these writers apart for me, what makes them so important to me? What it really comes down to is the connection to their characters, the way that they breathe life into words and create vivid and enticing images for me. It doesn’t matter the age of the characters because at twenty three I can still read about the kids who are eleven in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and learn about myself.
The more I get to know my main character, the more I think and daydream about her, the more young she feels, and I’m okay with that. My goal, my aspiration is to breathe life into this character and into the setting and the world that I am creating. Breath life in such a way that my words change people, that those who will one day read my book can walk away and say, “Wow, that was a game-changer for me.” I know this is a steep expectation, but isn’t this the goal of all writers? To create worlds that reality dwellers can escape to, if even for a couple of hours?
So, dear readers, keep reading, and don’t be afraid to tell those writers who have made a difference in your life, that they have. Sometimes even the best of us may need a confidence boost. Stephanie, Monda, Gary, and others, thank you for helping me find a pen, teaching me the tools that I needed, and helping me find my drive to succeed.