Posted by: Trisha Leigh | December 15, 2011

Do You See What I See?

It’s really hit home for me lately how people can read/see the same book/television show/movie but see totally different things or come away with disparate messages. I mean, I’ve realized this before, like when I read a book that people are absolutely RAVING about and I can’t stand it. In those moments I close the book, stare at the cover, and think “did we read the same book?”

A couple of weeks ago I saw the film Young Adult, who’s title caused quite a stir among my fellow young adult writers with the fear that the main character would be painted as somehow stunted or immature, and naturally chose to write books for teenagers.

Which is not the case, but as I scrolled through Twitter last weekend I caught a glimpse of someone ranting about the movie, how an aspect (as they perceived it) made them ill and I just went woah.

Because what offended that person so much? Hardly blipped my radar.

I love Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie, and can’t really stomach most of the “good” shows on premium cable because of my weak stomach and distaste for unnecessary nudity and sex (call me a prude, go ahead). I say tomato, you say tomahto. Or something. I don’t know anyone who actually says tomato differently. But that’s beside the point. I like what I like, you like what you like. Shows and books and movies are wildly successful when they manage to walk some elusive line that runs right down the cross-section of humanity.

There’s always that great decision, that pull toward wanting to write the next best thing that everyone will adore. The thing is? Those don’t really exist. There are people who don’t like Harry Potter. Some refuse to read The Hunger Games because the concept freaks them out. Plenty of friends of mine laugh and make fun of Nicholas Sparks (whether they’ve read his books or not) for being sappy/predictable.

Those are bestsellers, great stories in the opinion of millions of people, and there are still people that don’t care for them.

The question becomes then, do I want to write something a lot of people will like or something I want to write? The answer is always, hopefully, both. In the absence of that, though…what?

I’ve been facing some rough times, tough questions as of late. 2011? Not my best year. Then again, the 10 before this one weren’t that great either, so it’s a sliding scale. The question is this: why do I write?

A good, hard look at my life and what makes me happy yields this: I will keep writing. I honestly don’t know how to stop, and even if I did turn into a vegetable in front of the television, which is my other viable option…what would I want to do instead?

The answer is nothing, and so I write. I write the stories that I love, the characters that poke my brain until I give up and give them voices. If those sell one day, if lots of people connect with them, well that would be amazing. If I end up publishing them myself, and a couple of hundred people love them, maybe that will be enough too.

I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

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Responses

  1. That is why i write too πŸ™‚

  2. You are so not alone. I love Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, and Glee. I don’t plan on giving up my love for that type of show…ever.

    As for writing, you write the story that only you can write — and it doesn’t matter what it is. It just matters that it IS. Create, ask questions later. *grin*

    Great post. πŸ™‚

  3. You have to write what you love. Seriously. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    It’s like when you’re dating (“you” in general, not you in particular) — if you pretend to be someone you’re not, just to get somebody, what have you really gotten? Nothing worthwhile.

    Keep writing the books you love, the ones only you can write. They will be amazing. πŸ™‚

  4. You could write for me… I love your stories! πŸ™‚

  5. Good answer! “I write the stories that I love”.

  6. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a tedious place.

    As for your writing, well, you already know how I feel about it. So I’ll simply say, again, please never stop.

  7. You will always love your writing more than anyone else and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s our experiences that make us see things differently from others. I read books like Looking for Alaska and sob like a freaking baby, because it echoes things from my teenage years. Others may see it as a “bad influence” for teenagers. To each their own.

    Also, I haven’t read anything of yours yet. *AHEM*


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