Monday, September 2, 2013

The Struggle

Can I just say that I struggle with what I want to say as a writer?
There. I said it.
I do.
I didn't realize this until I started watching some of J.K. Rowling's videos on writing. The videos on "The Women of Harry Potter" are so wonderful. It made me realize that TOO MANY times I go into writing something wondering what others will think about it. I thought I had fallen out of this deadly trap! But I haven't.

Even watching the wonderful videos about the "Women of Harry Potter" made me wonder how others would view my female characters. Would they hate them for certain reasons, love them for others?


If something I place in my book DOES something for the book I NEED, why do I care what others thing about it?

One. Fundamental. Reason.

I'm human.

I start thinking about how children, middle graders, and young adults look up to characters they read about, relate to characters they read about, and I start hoping I've got characters in my head who are worthy of being looked up to. I start hoping that my females are good role models. I start hoping that my readers learn lessons from my characters--not only personal moral choices, but life lessons. I start wondering if my readers can think critically about what I have presented to them, even if it's in the form of fantasy.

Then, after I've wondered all that, I wonder if I succeeded in doing those things as a WRITER. Because if I failed, it doesn't matter what I hope I've done with my writing, if I have not executed things very well, I cannot expect my readers to understand their lessons.

I feel I should be conscious of are my readers.

Not everyone will read my books and get what I hope they want out of them. Lessons can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be lessons about morals, self-love and confidence. They can be lessons about standing up for yourself, or standing up for others. They can be darker lessons--like revenge really isn't that sweet.

Whatever the lesson, I know I must be conscious of how I present it...of, really, how I teach it. I cannot be afraid to address things I want to address.

Because in the end, it isn't about writing so that people love your books. It's DEFINITELY not about censoring yourself.  It's about writing what YOU feel you want to communicate, and as a result of that, people will love your books.

So, what do you want say as a writer?

Much love,



  1. That's an interesting question you pose. And hard to answer. I don't think much about "what I want to say" as a writer. I know that I do want young people to go into a library and request it because their friends said it was a good read. In that sense, I'm aware of what I want my readers to feel: "I can't wait to find out what happens next to (character)."

    1. It is hard to answer! Perhaps I think too much about how what I am writing will be taken, so I think a lot about what I'm trying to say. I think we all say things as writers, even if we don't mean to...but maybe not! Readers are going to interpret or books different anyway. I would definitely want the same as you when it comes to readers and how they feel!

  2. Well, what I want to say is different for every book. Plus I'd rather have people come up with their own ideas about what the book says. After all, they'll come up with their own ideas anyway.

    1. Oh, I agree! Not everyone gets out of a book what others do. That's the beauty of it. I do think we all write and say something, even if we aren't conscious of it, and whether or not readers pick up on those things is their own.

  3. Thanks for sharing this video, Ashley. It was very interesting.
    As for your question, I don't think I have an answer!

  4. I think we should concern ourselves with sharing experiences, and not so much with what those experiences mean. That's the reason we like stories, right? They expand our realm of experience. If the protagonist is a good role model, we can say, "She's amazing! I wish I was more like her." If she's not, we can say, "Wow, don't ever let me turn out like that." As writers, we should be concerned with making the audience say, "I want to know what happens to her!"

  5. I love this post! And I think you've posed an excellent question. I ALWAYS feel..burdened? the responsibility of what I'm conveying to my audience. I mean, I write for me, but I also feel I have a responsibility to my readers when it comes to what I'm "standing behind." And it's not that I necessarily have to answer the tough questions of humanity... but my job as a writer is more to ask them. I take a certain responsibility for whatever message I'm sharing based on how I deploy those questions in a story.

    I feel like so many stories (and movies, for that matter) these days rely solely on suspense and excitement and there's little left spent on strong character development and themes and life lessons. As I READER, the stories I like best are those with real heroes (ARAGORN!) and real character struggles (anything by Juliet Marillier *sigh*), and so often nowadays that gets glossed over in battle scene after battle scene with little time for reflection. Maybe this is more of a reflection on the shift in society. Who knows. But as I reader, I'm thankful you're taking the time to consider these things. :D Stories are SO much richer when a main character has tough, moral questions to answer.

    Great post!