Hello, beautiful people! Is the sun smiling over at your end? I live in a pretty tropical place but today, for some reason, it's screaming of a setting where the sun don't shine. Looks like it's gonna rain. I'm not too sure whether or not to take this as an omen or not because while my day has been far from fantastic, I did get offered a wonderful debut MG novel today! That always gets my mood up...
Anyway, enough babbling! I'm excited to introduce to everyone my first ever guest blogger, the fabulous Kathryn Williams, writer of The Debutante. (No, I haven't read the book yet, but I soon will, so you'll probably see a review on here sometime!)
Reviewer X has graciously asked me to try my hand at this little thing on the Internets that the kids today call "blogging." While I may seem hip/cool/with it because I'm on MySpace, I'm actually not (and not just because I used the terms "hip," "cool" and "with it.") I am pretty clueless about this stuff. (Exhibit A: I have been saying for three months that I am going to get on Facebook. Still no profile.) So here goes nuthin'…..
A couple weeks ago, I went back to my old school to talk about my new book, The Debutante, and the "writing process." (It's so funny to me that everything that goes into the creation of a novel can be summed up in those two neat, little words, because the process itself is actually huge and sprawling and incredibly messy with lots of twists and turns and aggravations and breakthroughs.)
Anyhoo. First off, I would just like to point out that it is very weird to call your old teachers by their first names. (Unrelated to the real point of this post, but an interesting topic nonetheless.)
So, at my school I got a question from one of the girls (they all had great questions) -- which part of The Debutante did I most enjoy writing? I had gotten this question before, so I already knew the answer. My favorite parts to write were a couple scenes between my main character, Annie, and her new friend/potential love interest, Robert Lee. But not the ones you'd think -- not the fun, flirty, romantic scenes, but the really painfully awkward, cringe-worthy ones.
As I answered the question, I realized how weird I sounded. What does it reveal about me that the scenes I enjoyed writing the most were the mortifying, toe-curling ones that, had they happened to me, would keep me up at night in cold sweats, wondering "Why did I say that??????????" and wishing just to be shot and put out of my misery.
Does this make me a sadist -- wringing my hands in wicked pleasure as I watch my characters squirm? Or maybe it's about me working out the awkward moments of my own teenage years through my characters? (Paging Dr. Freud.) In which case, it would be kind of like picking at old scabs. Which is gross. But I don't think it was that, either.
After some intense navel-gazing, I've decided it's because we all have them -- not belly buttons, but those moments where you can feel the tidal wave of word-vomit rising in your throat, but you're powerless to stop it. This is a universal experience, and I felt here was a chance I had to connect with my readers and make Annie real. I don't care how cool or popular someone is. He or she has, at some point, felt his or her stomach turn inside out as he or she struggled to find the right words or do the right thing and instead came out with… mush or silence or something completely stupid and inane. In fact, I could be doing it right now…
So, this makes me feel kind of less twisted. I'm not a sadist or a masochist who finds pleasure in my characters' embarrassment. I just like writing these scenes because we've all been there. If someone reads that scene and goes, "Oh my god, I've totally been there," then we've connected through our awkwardness -- our humanness -- and I think that's pretty cool, if not the purpose of books in the first place.
Oh, and the sun is coming out!! I might go read outside ;)