Get up from your computer, go to your front door and open it. See that world out there? That world SUCKS!! As in reality, the real world, the undeniable truth. In short, this is why I write. I can’t walk onto my front porch and declare “Today, I’m seventeen and I have a hot boyfriend with a Harley.”
Okay, so I can, but that won’t make it true and my neighbors would probably give me dirty looks.
Instead, I sit in front of my computer screen and I make it happen.
Reason 1: Fantasyland
Fantasyland is ALWAYS better than the real world. Oftentimes it has far more attractive people -ones who like each other! Plus, it’s all in your head, so while you create this awesome alternate reality, it’s one thing to you and something completely different to someone else. That’s one of my favorite things to have my readers talk about. Each one interprets the world a little differently.
Another great thing about Fantasyland? The characters have grit (usually) and far more guts than I would. They laugh in the face of Dystopia, they wield knives and guns and have no issue antagonizing would-be enemies. They hack and fight their way to the end of the story, where they always get the girl (or guy).
I can tell you right now that if the world ended tomorrow (since we’re still waiting on the Zombie Apocalypse) I would have to pretend I was in a book to survive. Which leads me to
Reason 2: Characters
Characters are resilient. The best part? They’re not like dysfunctional children, they do what you tell them to! If you’re having a bad day and you want to take it out on someone, send your MC into a horrible situation where they come out emotionally scarred and forever damaged. Laugh maniacally.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about my MC’s. You would’ve thought they were sitting in the room with us. After a while, they sort of become ‘real.’ We discuss them like friends, worry about them, and plot their futures. We question their decisions and cry for them.
They’re sort of like the friends that ALWAYS come to you for advice, except that they almost always listen to what you say. Like I said almost. My characters like to tell me what’s going to happen next all the time. Sometimes I find myself arguing with them similar to what I do when I watch a bad horror movie. “No-you will not run upstairs right now!” “Stop – just stop, you’re not going to leave her lying in the middle of the road.” “Great, now you want to be a hero??”
I realize that I sound schizophrenic, and so what? Maybe I am! Thanks to A.M. Supinger
for showing me this quote:
I know you are all nodding your heads in agreement here. How could you not? We’re a slightly insane bunch and that’s okay!
Usually my characters get their way, damn them. But what can I expect? They’re angst ridden teenagers with a chip on their shoulders and something to prove.
Reason 3: I’m Young Again!!
Young Again=YA=Young Adult
You see where I’m going with this? I love, love, love to write (and read) in first person. It draws you into the story and suddenly you have become the main character. Lucky for me, she’s everything I wish I could be. Shorter, thinner, with long, gorgeous hair, and 17. She’s not jaded! She opens her front door and sees possibility!
Teen angst = FUN!
I work with teenagers all the time. They are my favorite kind of people. The smallest things destroy their entire world. It fascinates me!
I love how every emotion is heightened thousandfold just because of their age. Despite their freaking out, their emotions are REAL. They put everything they have behind those emotions and they don’t hold back. When they love, they love with their whole heart, their entire soul and the whole world knows it. When they hate you, it’s similar. Have you ever watched Mean Girls? That movie hit it spot on.
My friend Andrea, who’s an amazing actress, told my kids (my wonderful teenage ones, who are not actually MY kids) that whatever they feel is valid. As adults we tend to try and downplay their emotions and tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about. But when I’m writing, I’m not an adult, I’m a teenager, so anything goes!
If I hate you, I can be angry and vindictive! I can put bleach in your conditioner, I can call you and pretend to be someone else, and I can not speak to you for weeks. Ah! What a sweet release. In the dreaded real world I’d be expected to be an adult. Psh! Booorrrriinnnggg!!
If I love you, that gives me free reign to follow you to the ends of the earth. NOTHING is more important than love and belonging. I will follow you straight into hell and not stop until my skin has burned away and I’m nothing but a pile of ash. Tell me I’m wrong! Don’t you remember what it was like to be a teenager in love? It’s all encompassing and it dictates every action.
So while the real world shuns emotions and frowns upon outward displays of them, my characters revel in it, allowing me to be someone I can’t be out here.
Reason 4: Sweet, Sweet Release
As in escapism.
I can spend hours upon hours in a MS. I can shut out the world to everything but my characters. Bills need to be paid? Not today, I’m writing. Laundry’s dirty? Well, my character’s having a panic attack and that’s clearly more important. Dishes need to be washed? You see the point.
You know when you were little and your parents told you that you could be whatever you wanted? They were right! But only in books. See, there’s my jaded adult side coming out. Usually I can shut her up with chocolate and wine. In a book I’m better than myself.
And thus, we have come full circle.
All the best,