Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why I Do What I Do...

Last spring, I went on a blind date at a coffee shop. The guy, knowing I was a writer of some sort, told me he'd be at a table reading some Jacque Cousteau or something... to which I replied, I'd be the redhead reading Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries 2, Princess in Training.

After a chuckle he said, "Teen Romance, wow. That must be like bulging muscles and swooning."

I paused. "Actually," I said, "my books are about believing in yourself and discovering exactly the sort of person you want to become. Which is exactly what 12 year old girls need to hear."

Needless to say, the date (can you believe I still went!) didn't go well.

But yes, I really did say that about my work, becuase that is why I do what I do. I write for the young teen I was, to tell her exactly what I wished I could have somehow known. I write for my former students who need a fun adventure that might remind them of how special they are. I write to make myself laugh. I write because I have something to say that I hope will be of value.

My dad was here last week on a visit and read the marked-up copy of my manuscript my editor had just sent me. He kept stopping to tell me what she'd written in the margins! (I hadn't got to read it yet, so that was really not fair.) But in the end, he proclaimed it, "Pretty good."

So I figure if my English teacher dad can enjoy my not-quite-revised book written for teens, then maybe I'm on the right track.

Maya Angelou said, "The bird doesn't sing because it knows the answer. The bird sings because it has a song." Isn't that beautiful?

So, why do you write what you write?



Heather Davis is the author of
coming in April 2009 from HarperCollins


Me said...

Wow, hardcore question, H!

I write the stories I write because they're the stories I'd want to read. But instead of escaping into that fantasy world for a few hours, I get to live it for a few weeks--or however long it takes to write the book.

I also write because I get to answer the what if? One day I was watching Queer Eye and I sighed, "I wish Tom weren't gay." Then I thought, "What if Tom weren't gay?" That became the basis for my second chick lit. A lot of people ask the what if, but I get to answer it!

TinaFerraro said...

Writing calls to me and fills me in a way that nothing else does. I couldn't quit if I wanted to.

Like you both have said, I try to write the stories I would have wanted to read as a teen. For instance, mid-way through writing HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE, I had this crazy idea to create a six point plan that would "test" a couple's compatibility. I basically tapped back into my teen self, laughing WITH and AT myself to come up with it. And my editor liked it, and hopefully, readers will, too.

Marley Gibson said...

I write the stories of the characters that I hear in my head. That looks weird in writing, but it's true. You guys can identify, eh? LOL, TLC on the "what if Tom weren't gay." Love it!

Megan said...

My books are for teenagers like me, who'd like to be swept away in a fun romance that has laughs along the way. My books (well, the one book in particular) say it's OK for a teenager to be innocent and not as experienced as their peers. My books are about teenagers who in their encounters with guys end up learning things about themselves, whether its standing up for themselves, what romance really is, or sometimes just what kind of person they really are.

And I hope that my stories get to be shared with teenagers somebody!

Megan said...

Oops, someday, not somebody.