Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday Words: The Book You're Meant to Write

I know it's not Wednesday, but I really wanted to end the 2011 entries to this blog on a high note, so consider this Wednesday Words: Saturday Edition.

I've never been in love, not even close. I'm one of those perpetually single people - my life is full in infinite ways, I just don't happen to have a boyfriend right now. But I'm okay with that because I've been falling in love with stories my entire life and discovering that stories are all around us, you just have to pay attention. In songs with and without lyrics, the sound of crickets on a summer night, in an impossibly delicate sunset or painting, in television shows, in movies, and of course in books.

Though I feel like in my life, despite my voracious reading habits, I have a hard time finding books that leave me with the feeling like in some magical cosmic way it was meant for me, that the author somehow knew that this shy yet smart-mouthed nerdy girl from Illinois was in need of a story that clicked with her. But then Harry Potter happened when I was 11 and I "met" Hermione, and suddenly I didn't feel so alone anymore. Then I got older and last year I read According to Jane by Marilyn Brant and it's awesome how similar my life is to that of the protagonist.

Yet this itch remains, and this past year I started to write more stories myself. Over the course of the summer, I wrote a first draft of a YA novel in which the protagonist has an awful lot of me in her - she's the protagonist I often wanted to read about but couldn't find.

When her latest book The Scorpio Races came out this past October, Maggie Stiefvater wrote about why she wrote the book on her blog. Her answer is simply poetic: this isn't a story that she just snapped her fingers and it came to her overnight, but the story she always wanted to read but had never found on the bookstore or library shelves. As she says, it's the "most Maggie" book she has ever written, the book she was meant to write. At my last count, this novel has gotten five starred reviews which leads me to what I believe is an obvious conclusion: this isn't just a book for Maggie, but a book that a lot of people maybe didn't realize they were also looking for until it finally existed. Her anti-NaNoWriMo post was one that hit home with me in November when I was near tears and neck-deep in another first draft, but looking back and really thinking about it, this particular post about how this book finally came to be is my favorite of hers. It's advice that I try to follow in my own writing as I work to write the story that only I can tell and I haven't already seen on my library shelves. I want to write the book that will hopefully do what Hermione did for me when I was also a precocious bookworm of an eleven year old.

If you're a writer, may Maggie's words help you as they have also helped me. If you're a reader, may you have the best of luck as you search for that book that perfectly fits you on the shelves. May all of you have a very Happy New Year. I hope to see you all back here in 2012. Bring a friend while you're at it. Spread the word, the more the merrier!

Comments welcome, and as always, happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. Maggie is anti-nanowrimo? Now I have a whole new level of appreciation for her. Nanowrimo does not appeal to me in the slightest, it just seems like the antithesis of what writing is all about. It definitely is always good to write the book you wish you could find in a bookstore/library.