Tuesday, January 28, 2014

John Green, Veronica Roth, and Me

In the midst of a melancholy Friday, I decided to begin reading a young adult novel I had downloaded while in California over the holidays. Typically I don't read during the day, since I want to stay focused on the tasks at hand around the house. However, on Friday I read in between talking with the children, eating lunch at McDonald's just to get out of the house, and waiting for Caleb to come home from work.

I finished the entire book in less than 12 hours. Normally, I would be impressed with myself and brag about it to anyone who would listen. At least, that's what happened when I beat Bobby Wilson in a Goosebumps reading challenge in elementary school. 

Once I got to the end of my sad-day book, though, I couldn't push out the thoughts the story churned up in order to let the self-congratulation through. What I'd read was The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green; it's a novel following the lives of several teenagers fighting cancer, but more specifically, it's about two teens who love each other knowing there will be a tragic end. Probably not the best book to read when one's already having a gloomy day.

I decided to distract myself from the lingering feelings by starting up another book I had wanted to read. This time, Divergent by Veronica Roth; hardcore battles and self-discovery were what I thought loomed in front of me. I should have known that there was going to be a love story, but I thought it would take a backseat to all of the political dealings I'd heard populated the story. 

Divergent, Insurgent, and half of Allegiant later, I realized that I was wrong. Reading almost all of a trilogy in 48 hours is not something I have done in a long time, and I had forgotten how emotionally draining it can be. Veronica Roth did a great job of making the world of the books extremely vivid. But, I closed Allegiant midway through because I couldn't watch anymore people die. Even fictional violence sticks on my bones too much.

I tell you all of that to tell you this:

I participated in National Novel Writing Month last November, and I only made it 15,500 words into the 50,000 word challenge. Still, I was pleased with my work and decided to let it rest while I was in California. I read it today for the first time in two months, trying to get the emotions of John Green's and Veronica Roth's characters out of my head. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how well my story and characters stood up. My plot may be loose and have far fewer twists than the Divergent trilogy. My secondary cast doesn't have the zing of John Green's. But for a first time fiction writer, I didn't completely screw things up. 

Slowly but surely, I am beginning to appreciate that I have something to contribute. Maybe I'll actually live up to that something soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment