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What I'm Learning
Hi, I'm Chelsea! I’m on a mission to help you find joy and goodness in every day.
On this blog we talk about the big things (like chasing dreams) and the small things (like what books we're reading) because happiness comes in all sizes.
Remember when I talked about peaches and criticism?
Well, I saw my first negative review. And since I’m writing this post, I think we can all agree that I’m not quite as far along with the whole being okay with negative feedback as I would like to be. But, the reason this person hated my book was because it wasn’t realistic enough.
And you know what? I’m not upset about that.
Fiction is beautiful because it allows you to escape to a place where everything isn’t exactly as it is in your current life. When you read a fiction book, you’re able to escape from where you are without ever leaving your couch. And that’s pretty spectacular.
Reality has a place in fiction, absolutely. But the precise amount of reality that belongs in any given story? I don’t think that amount exists. And truthfully, I don’t think I want it to exist.
I love getting lost in a story. And more times than not, it’s a fiction book that I get lost in. Okay, all the time. I’m not educational enough to get lost in reading non-fiction. And do you know why it’s easy to get lost in reading fiction? Because you know it’s not true. And somehow, by knowing that, you give yourself permission to get lost in it, and maybe even believe in it.
The book that I wrote
may not be is not one-hundred percent realistic. And I like it that way. That is why I love fiction, and that is why I wrote fiction.
While I was writing my novel, I had the chance to speak to an accomplished novelist that I really admired. I asked her what her biggest advice for writing a book was, and she responded, “Read. A lot. And then write something that you would want to read.” Such simple advice, but it struck me as genius. I love reading fiction, I love reading YA fiction, and I love reading YA fiction that I can get lost in without it being so realistic that I stop and fact-check the story. So that’s what I wrote.
Sure, I could write a story about a girl who drools on her pillow and who wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom because she drank too much water before bed. I could include every time she washes her clothes or changes the sheets. I could write about a girl who doesn’t go to dinner with a guy she just met, because that’s not very realistic. Yeah, I could write a book like that.
But it wouldn’t be a book I would want to read.
With contemporary YA fiction, I think there’s a line between reality and the magical mystery of fate that you need to land just a little on either side of. It’s different for every book, but I’m proud of how I landed on that line. I’m proud of the balance of my story.
Because it’s one I would want to read.
Do you read fiction? Do you prefer it to be more realistic or more fictitious?
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