Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Someone Else's Mistakes

The other day, I spent some time thinking about why I want to write. Because when you tell yourself you're going to spend months, usually years, on one silly little book, one bound collection of papers, you need to know what you're doing has some purpose. Some meaning for you. And I'm not just saying that because people are selfish, because we tend to do something for someone only if we're going to reap the benefits. I'm saying it because it's true. Because when it gets hard, and you're thinking of throwing in the towel, you want to have a moment to remind yourself. You need to have your own pep talk. Everyone needs one. Even the most determined of writers need one.

For me, I have to get those words down on the page because as I write them, as the thoughts form, I hear my own voice shouting back at me. And it's saying, "Yes. Finally, you understand what it means to be a teenager."

It's more than that, though. I hope my books can teach people lessons, because that's important. You can't make all the mistakes in the world. Sometimes you have to learn from what other people did wrong. For instance, the main character in my newest book keeps going back to her boyfriend, despite the disapproval of her parents and her best friend. Sure, that tells you something wonderful about the girl: she's forgiving and loyal, but to a fault. Maybe you're not that kind of girl, but your best friend is, and after reading the book, you can help her because you feel like you've been inside this girl's head. Even if you don't agree with her logic, at least you're starting to understand it, right?

That's all we want in life. Someone to understand us and still love us. I hope my books can make people see that.

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