Death of a Muse: A Cautionary Tale

Do you have a writing muse? All writers draw upon LIFE in some way as fodder for our stories, whether it be from an everyday or extraordinary experience, from a certain moment or an emotion, from a direct observation or a daydream for a happily-ever-after, or from an interaction or interlude. But what about an actual muse? Do you have a very specific inspiration for a story? A real-life person “pinned” to your mental inspiration board that drives the story for you?

I’ve always viewed my stories as character-driven. I write in first-person, with my character’s internal struggles largely serving as the guiding force of my stories. For my first four completed manuscripts, I created characters partly from experiences and from my sense of what I wanted this character to be armed with and needing to build as they battled through their challenges. These characters came to life from my “floaty brain,” the part of my creative brain that soars beyond what I know in real life. These characters were unlike anyone I knew, but they spoke to me and worked well for me. And then something happened that made me switch to a real-life muse.

It was an innocent and seemingly small thing. I was starting a new story at the time, and one day was perusing “suggested” Instagram posts. I hit upon a picture of a model that struck me because this person looked exactly like how I envisioned my main character. We’ve probably all done this before as writers: selected a celebrity or some other person readily available in social media to pin to our character inspiration boards. With this single picture as my inspiration, I wrote over 75K of this story.

I deliberately challenged myself with this particular project. I wanted my main character to be a “grey guy,” neither a hero nor a villain but someone who would possess very few scruples in his life unless they involved one other person (the love interest of his story). I struggled with this character and this story, rewriting the beginning seven times during the process in an attempt to get it (and him) just right. Somewhere in the middle of the rewrites, I met this real-life muse, the model.

How would I describe this experience? CONTRADICTORY. On once hand, meeting this muse was exciting and exhilarating because this was my character (I mean, character inspiration). However, from the moment I met this muse, my floaty brain (my creative part that soars above what I know in real life) came crashing down to earth. It was akin to a time travel paradox or stepping into an anti-parallel universe – where I crossed dimensions and met a different version of my floaty-brain muse. I now could hear what this “character” sounded like and experience his mannerisms and learn a little bit more about him as a person. And while this muse was in fact very nice…. he wasn’t my character. Duh. Of course he wasn’t (I’m not that delusional). Nevertheless, my character inspiration began to die that day and I never got my floaty-version back.

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My muse died over two years ago. I have never finished writing that story, and I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t in any way blame my once-real-life muse for my writing struggles that occurred after meeting the muse in real life, but this experience has allowed me to understand more about my own creative process and how I best develop and allow my characters to thrive — and how I need to keep them in their own dimensions.

I have worked on other projects since this unfinished story, but I haven’t been able to channel my floaty brain as well as of late. Various life events have made it necessary for me to step away from writing, and for now, I’ve given myself permission to go on an extended writing hiatus. But I will find my floaty-brain again some day, and when I do, I will be back.

Thank you to all of my lovely sisters and brothers at Thinking Through Our Fingers. While I will visit you all daily and read your posts, this is my last post for a while.  ❤

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Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.

Seize the Moment

Time is a precious, limited commodity. I think this realization strikes us the hardest when someone near and dear to us runs out out of time.

One of my good friends passed away a couple of days ago, her time on this earth abruptly cut far too short. I am still grappling with the loss of this vibrant and spirited woman. She was a friend to many, and she was feisty and outspoken about things we often disagreed about but were simultaneously able to laugh about. In the past several years, she faced increasing issues with her health. Despite chronic pain and other challenges that affected her daily life, the time I spent with her was filled with her lovely smile and laughter, of her wit and her humor, of her kindness and love that she freely gave to others. Those are the memories I will forever have of my friend.

At the same time, I feel a great heaviness in my heart because I didn’t seize all of the moments with her that I could have when she was here. I didn’t rush over to the care facility the second I’d heard from a family member that she might not have very much time left. I planned to go the very next day to see her, but by the next morning, she had already left.

I know that this (guilt) is a part of grieving, that it’s natural and that I’m not the only one who feels this way right now. I am grateful that she’s not in pain anymore. I’m thankful for the times that we did spend together and that I was lucky enough to have been blessed with her friendship.

But time. So limited and precious.

Seize The Moment

My friend was a great supporter of everyone she knew. In her last few years, she would use social media to stay very well connected, especially because she had a hard time getting out. She would often post social media pictures of the wonderful things that she had found at her friend Sally’s gift shop and tell everyone to go. She had one step-daughter and loved children so much — she would rejoice in her friends’ children’s achievements and was the honorary aunt to so many. She rejoiced in all that she could — when I published my books, I gave her copies and she read each one and did social media posts and gave copies to her friends and told them to read. She made the most of her time, even on these days that were so hard for her.

This post is mostly a tribute to my friend. It is also a reminder to myself to seize the day. The time we have is borrowed. The past three months, I’ve been hit extra hard with the reality that I cannot do everything that I want to do. I have had to focus on what I need to do, and unfortunately, writing has not been one of those things. Family (always) and sharp increase in work obligations (recent) have expanded to fill my writing time. And it has also swallowed up much of time that I could have spent with good friends. I have to forgive myself for this, as I’ve been working to be better at managing the things that I need to do. As my chaotic semester ends (I am an associate professor), I will do better in seizing the day in doing the things that I love and spending the moments with the people that I love.

Seize the moments.

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HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.

When On a Writing Hiatus

I’m on a writing hiatus.

I have two writing projects that are in my head and want to be written. I haven’t written a word on either of these projects in over a month and a half, despite my characters’ pleas. I’m not here to make excuses or to explain why circumstances necessitated a break from an essential part of my life, but suffice it to say that my life required that I stop writing until I get my feet back beneath me.

There is, of course, all of the sources of potential shame that comes from this: from the advice that you need to write every day to the claims that the only way to succeed is to have a supportive spouse/partner that can help run your household so you can have time to write… nope, nope, nope. Sorry, not sorry but none of us have identical lives, and I have finally reached a point in my life where I am comfortable rejecting this shame.

I’ve given myself permission for my writing hiatus.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me how writing was coming along. I told her that it wasn’t. She nodded and smiled, perhaps because I was smiling too and said, “Good. We need to be better at giving ourselves permission to take breaks.”

On a bigger scale, this made me think. A big part of writing is just that — giving yourself permission.

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My writing hiatus has been productive — both in non-writing ways and in ways that have allowed me to reflect upon how to tackle writing when I finally return to it. Today, I thought I would share some of these reflections (or maybe pledges that we writers can make, as either writing and non-writing individuals):

Give yourself permission to look deeply within yourself to find the stories that you need to tell (even though looking that deeply within yourself may be frightening at times — but also cathartic and/or necessary for healing).

Give yourself permission to put your heart on the page (even knowing that your words may be met with criticism or rejection — but that they also will have the power to create joy).

Give yourself permission to speak out and have a voice (even in this world where you may feel insignificant or outpowered — but your story matters to you and it will matter to others).

Give yourself permission to experience the emotions associated with publishing (even knowing that you will experience anxiety, self-doubt, and possibly depression — but also jubilation, fulfillment, and many occasions for celebration if you look for them).

Give yourself permission to make connections with other writers (even knowing that these connections will take time and effort, as all friendships do — but wow — what rich and long-lasting friendships you will make).

Give yourself permission to take an extended break — without shame (because you need to choose the path that works for your life, period).

Give yourself permission to be who you are as a writer.

HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.

Life Circumstances of a Writer

I’m a writer, but my full-time job is not writing. Thinking back upon my life thus far, I can remember nearly always possessing a love of writing but in addition to other loves. When I was a kid, I enjoyed writing but also wanted to be a doctor. As I went through school, I enjoyed my English electives but chose to major in the sciences. In college, I was inspired by one of my professors to become a doctor (not the type that I or my parents were originally thinking) and eventually went all the way to earn my Ph.D in Biological Sciences (I have the scars from field work to prove it). Now, so many years later, I enjoy writing fantasy even though I’m an Associate Professor of Biology. To date, I’ve published 4 novels and 1 nonfiction book, but the professor life remains one of my full-time jobs, and raising my family is my other full-time job. Peoples’ life circumstances are different, and I am friends with several full-time writers, many writers that also are in occupations related to writing, and lots and lots of others that are in occupations, including parenting, not necessarily related to writing.

Occasionally, I stumble across writing advice that honestly irks me, and then I have to take a step back (i.e., run away) and remember to breathe (i.e., not scream). I take this moment to remember what I just said above: everyone’s life circumstance is different, and not all advice for writers applies to you. For every writer that celebrates the end of summer because it means kids are back in school, there will be writer-teachers that mourn the end of summer because it means going back to to work — or writers that can’t empathize with this because they don’t have kids. For every writer that depends on the support of a partner to take over the household and/or kids so they have more time to write, there will be writers that don’t have partners — or writers that don’t have partners that are able and/or willing to take over the household and/or kids. And so on. And so forth.

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So yes, I have a full-time non-writing-related job and am a parent. Originally, I was going to title this blog “If Your Full-time Job is not Writing…” BUT this won’t apply to every writer (and I don’t want to irk anyone). So ultimately, this is my blog post about acceptance of who YOU are as a writer and YOUR life circumstances, whatever they may be.

Here are things that have helped me navigate the trickiness of life and all it has to offer:

  1. Regularly reevaluate your priorities. Writing does not always have to be on the top of your list today. It does not have to be on the top of your list tomorrow. Your life circumstances might require that you shift priorities from season to season or even day to day, and this is okay.
  2. Do not compare your progress, success, situation, or life to others. You work the way that is best for you. Period. Comparing your situation to someone else is not productive — you set the standards or bar for yourself, not anyone else. 
  3. Create small, realistic goals for yourself. Adjust whenever needed. Keep your goals attainable and within your control. “Selling X books within a month of book release,” or “Hitting a bestseller list by the time I retire,” are examples of goals that are not within your realm of control. “Write 5K this week,” “Revise three chapters today,” or “Critique a beta read by the end of the month,” on the other hand, are great goals that are within your control.
  4. Cultivate a different enjoyable go-to activity for those hard-to-write days. Hitting those writing goals provides us with a great deal of enjoyment, but everyone has those days when the words become a thick sludge and simply refuse to come out. Everyone. Instead of depriving yourself of the specific enjoyment of hitting your writing goal, shift your efforts to something that also provides you with joy.
  5. Allow yourself breaks from writing — “as long as you need.” “As long as you need,” is the response that one of my writing group sisters gave me when I told them that I needed to take a writing break. I’m filled with gratitude for this level of understanding, which brings me to the next point.
  6. Take care of yourself. Orly Konig’s post yesterday shared 4 wonderful ways to protect your writing boundaries. In addition to your writing boundaries, you need to protect yourself too, your mental and physical health, and your sense of well-being. This may require saying “no” or forgiving yourself for taking necessary breaks. 
  7. Take time to remember and reflect on why you are a writer. If you’re here on Thinking Through Our Fingers and any of this resonates with you on a deep level, then you are a writer. Even if you don’t write today, tomorrow, for weeks or months or years, you are a writer. We all have reasons why we’ve embraced this difficult and often frustrating trade, and it’s emotionally helpful to remind ourselves of why we write. 
  8. Ignore writing advice that doesn’t apply to you. Instead of being irked by writing advice that doesn’t apply to you (as I tend to do), move on. You will find your way — a way that works for you and others in similar life circumstances. Or maybe just for you. ❤ 

HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.

 

Fighting the Darkness With Light (and Words)

I’m a terrible salesperson when it comes to my own work. I do have quick little pitches stored in my head that I use for emergencies, i.e., when people ask me what my stories are about. But then *gasp* sometimes people ask me more questions, and I usually find myself tacking on a warning that some of my story material ventures into the shadows and so maaaaybe they miiiight not want to read it. (See? Terrible salesperson). The reason for this warning is because I integrate more somber topics like sexual assault and addiction and bullying into the backstory or as a challenge for my characters to overcome (this post explains why I take that leap and venture to tougher topics, and this one by my dear friend Wendy Jessen provides excellent tips on how to tackle tough topics with sensitivity).

I’ve noticed that when I write contemporary stories (but also when I write fantasy)  that the realities of life have significant influence upon my stories. While my own experiences or observations don’t necessarily drive my works-in-progress, they certainly steer them. Sometimes my characters struggle with the same things that I or the people I know have endured. Most recently, my characters have started experiencing hardships that I see as screaming injustices in the world.

When I initially sat down and semi-outlined my current WIP (I am a pantser and probably always will be), my main character was struggling with his inability to form any sort of emotional connection in relationships. That was going to be the driving force of his arc, and he was going to be the only voice in the story. But I’ve been thinking about the meaning of his arc more and more, especially in the past few weeks, and while I still think this suits him, it somehow feels like it’s not enough for the overall story. Heart heavy with the self-doubt that is par for the course for pretty much every writer I know, I told a couple of my critique partners that I didn’t know if my story had enough meaning. Because you see, in the past few days, I’ve thought a lot about the bravery required to face hate and darkness in the world. My lovely critique partner Elaine assured me that my stories do have meaning, but that it would also be a good idea to take note of the other ideas that were in my head. Wonderful advice, and I took it, with the initial idea that this could be in the next story.

I’ve decided not to wait. My current story has room for another voice that speaks against the injustices of prejudice and hate. This means another character with another POV (thankfully I won’t have to create her from scratch, but she didn’t have a POV in the story before). The utter necessity of this is due to specific events in the recent news — events that made this quote come to the forefront of my thoughts:

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I don’t pretend to be a champion of social justice; I don’t possess that level of bravery. However, when I write that bit of darkness into my stories, I also provide a way to fight that darkness for my characters: light. They are good people that begin their story with significant struggles, and they traverse bumpy and painful landscapes, but they eventually come to believe and hope and heal and find their way to a resolution — no matter what — to an eventual better ending.

In living through or seeing injustice, whether it be prejudice, racism, sexism, or discrimination of any form, whether we ourselves are or hear of victims of crimes or assault or abuse, when we live through times of hate, we storytellers have the power to make things right again. We can help our characters through those trials. If you are fortunate enough, you will help some of your readers as well. In taking your characters and readers into the dark, the best way to drive out that darkness is to provide a light. And hope.

p.s. Now that I’ve figured this out about my own stories, I don’t think I’ll have a hard time talking about what my stories are about — in case anyone asks.

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HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.

Stages of Writing

This writing business is not an easy one. At any given moment, you will find folks in the writing community who are celebrating great successes, others wondering if they should quit for good, and all of the iterations in between. As a writer, I sometimes feel like I boarded a tiny boat on a big ocean, trying to navigate somewhere while constantly being tossed by waves that alternatively represent swells and crashes — or swells and bigger swells followed by crashes and bigger crashes.

This weekend, my computer’s hard drive failed, and I received the diagnosis that my MacBook Pro had suffered a failed motherboard. After I made the final decision to lay my beloved MacBook Pro to rest, I spent some time reflecting on all we had gone through together. Yes, I know that it’s  just a computer and that their motherboards and hard drives have a lifetime, but I had written 3.5 books on this particular laptop (and I’m sentimental, okay?). In my tumult of emotions, I also thought about my writing community and the times while writing those 3.5 books when I’d both needed support and lent support to others, talked about and shared hopes and fears, advice, and inspiration, and I realized not for the first time that (1) I’m not on this tiny boat all by myself after all and (2) what an up-and-down kind of journey it really is.

In a tribute to this journey (and indirectly to Ms. MacBook Pro), here’s my representation of the many stages of writing, showing some of the things that I and others have experienced. This is not to minimize any of these feelings, but to inform you that these are perfectly natural and totally reasonable reactions to the various stages of writing (shown via Bitmojis, naturally):

I wrote more today than I ever have! I’m in the flow! I can do this!

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Am I a fraud? Do I even know what I’m doing?

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Word count today: 0… the same as for the past month…I mean forever. What if I can never write another word again?

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I typed “THE END” on this draft!!!! This is the greatest feeling ever!

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*sends to beta readers*/*sends queries*/*goes on submission*  *refreshes e-mail every three seconds*FullSizeRender(28)

I don’t know what to write now. What if I don’t have another story in me? EVER?

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Do I save these rejections or delete them? *sets them all on fire and eats all of the ice cream and chocolate in the house* *buys some more for next time*

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Someone wants/requested/read/liked my manuscript!!!!!

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Revisions. And more revisions. And edits. And copyedits. And more of all of the above. Will this ever end? It has to end sometime, right?

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BOOK RELEASE DAY!!!!! THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING DAY EVER! I HAVE LIVED FOR THIS DAY!

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I’m just going to check my Amazon/Goodreads ratings one more time, but then that’s it. *five minutes later* Okay, just one more time. And one… More… Time…. FullSizeRender(7)

My book made a list! (Wait, is that category even applicable to my story? I don’t know. But who cares?) A list!

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Someone left me a 1-star review. They didn’t get it. They hated it. More people hate it now. What if my career is over?

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I’m deleting all of my social media and going into hiding.

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I just got the best story idea! It’s fresh and I already love the characters, and it’s almost like it’s plotting itself! FullSizeRender(25)

I’m writing again! I almost forgot how great this feels! It’s the best!

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Huh. I thought writing this next one would be a little easier. A tiny bit easier? Not a whole lot harder. It’s like I forgot everything I ever knew….

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So many plot holes. So many loose threads. What does this revision note to myself mean? What am I even doing?

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I feel so inspired! That writing conference/pep talk/book by *insert super inspiring writer or favorite author* was exactly what I needed! I’m rejuvenated and ready to hit it hard!

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I’ve been writing every night. And getting up early to write. And writing during the day between all the things. Because deadlines and expectations but also exhaustion and no time.

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I just hit 70K… but I’m really not feeling this story anymore, and my early test readers are bored. Maybe I should…*gulp* scrap this version and start over.

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I love this story again! I just needed to do “V, W, X, Y, and Z” to fix it, and it’s awesome again!

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Deadline is approaching…. I’m not sure I can meet my deadline…. Deadline is past.

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I finished the draft! I did it! I DID IT! (I knew I could do it.)

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Wait. All if this. All of this is my writing/publishing life? Can I really sustain this in the long term?

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I love writing! Ultimately I write for me, and I can’t imagine not doing it.

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I AM A WRITER, AND ON MOST DAYS, I LOVE IT.

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HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager. An author of both paranormal and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the Mythology trilogy (MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, THE ETERNAL), and contemporary romance-suspense LOSING ENOUGH. She’s working on a couple of new stories right now, and you can find out more about her writing life at www.helenboswell.com.

We ALL Need Superheroes

There has been much buzz lately about the blockbuster hit Wonder Woman, and I have to agree with those that say the buzz is for a GOOD reason. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say that there was so much about this movie that hit my heartstrings and made me ponder many things, long after I left the movie theater. A week and a half later, and I’m still processing and enjoying the message and the story, and I can tell you this: Wonder Woman gave me hope about multiple things both personal and on a large-scale, at a time when I think I needed her.

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(^ When you just HAD to snap a picture of an epic scene because you thought you might need it for later).

One more thought has been rattling around in my brain about Wonder Woman, and it involves the pre-viewing buzz. Prior to seeing this movie, I did my best to stay away from spoilers and so really had no idea what to expect — except for the fact that this was a superhero story, which I typically enjoy (non-spoilers note: it is so much more than that). However, I had seen more than a few times on social media that people were urging all of their friends to take their daughters to see this movie. I was invited by a group of women to go see it a few days after I’d already seen it. As I reflect upon my own viewing of the movie, I completely understand this sentiment. Wonder Woman fought for so much, for her loved ones, for herself, and for humanity. I understood the call to take daughters to see this movie because as a woman, I was very inspired.

However, I did not take any of my daughters with me to this movie.

Okay, so I don’t have any daughters. But I went with my husband and two young sons (ages 6 and 10). We had planned to take the kids to see a movie that day, but our sons chose Captain Underpants. Nothing personal against the briefs-wearing caped crusader, but my husband and I wound up arguing (yes, literally arguing) over who would be the *cough* unlucky person to go to see Captain Underpants because he’d taken them to see Trolls, and I’d taken them to see The Secret Life of Pets, and honestly, neither of us wanted to go see this movie that day. My husband then said to the boys, “We aren’t going to see Captain Underpants today. But maybe we should all go see Wonder Woman. Because you know — your mom is a Wonder Woman.” ❤  *cue heartmelt*

I waited for the counter-argument. I waited for one of my sons to say, “But that’s a movie for girls. But we want Captain Underpants!” There was none of that, and aside from one brief pout from the youngest one, we went and saw Wonder Woman. And my boys, husband, and I all loved it. My boys especially loved seeing Princess Diana as a little girl, they loved how funny and determined Diana Prince was as an adult, and perhaps most of all, they loved how kickass Wonder Woman was.

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Here are some direct quotes of what my boys had to say today (about a week and a half after we saw it as a family):

“I liked how Wonder Woman could do all of those cool things, like jump this huge distance and land on a building, and how surprised she was that she could even do it.” *makes flying noises*

“I liked when she tried to blend in and how she was trying on normal clothes but wanted to make sure she could fight in them.” *kicks and punches the air*

“I liked the part when she was figuring out things about people and our world for the first time.” 

“I liked her as a little girl when she was learning how to fight, just like I do karate.” *does awesome karate moves*

“There are too many cool things to say them all, Mom.” 

Wonder Woman is a story for everyone, you see, not just for daughters and sisters and mothers and female friends. Men and boys need to see kickass women as much as women and girls need to see kickass women. One way we can empathize with people from all walks of life is to experience their stories — and this applies to readers and writers of stories as well. When I was younger, I loved Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I read (and reread) Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t when I was in elementary school (and asked my mom tons of questions about each, which she frankly answered, bless her heart). My oldest son is an avid reader, and while his current favorite series is Tyler Whitesides’ The Janitors, he also loved Judy Moody.

If only we could live long enough to read and write ALL the books. Writers often talk about the need for writing and reading diversely. Usually we mean writing about groups that aren’t widely represented in stories, and this post and others explain why writing diversely is so very crucial for our readers to understand different perspectives. Yet as authors, our books may be categorized and marketed as girl’s books or boy’s books, as women’s fiction, men’s fiction, gay and lesbian fiction, multicultural fiction, and so on (I’ve even seen the category “men’s adventure fiction” pop up somewhere). These designations are primarily for marketing toward target audiences, as these stories depict women’s life experiences, or the experiences of LGBTQIA+ characters, or the singular experience of a man’s adventure, I suppose. But as a reader and writer, there is great value in crossing those bridges and experiencing (through reading) and representing (through writing) a wide variety of struggles and triumphs, just as my sons experienced the struggles and triumphs of Princess Diana / Diana Prince / Wonder Woman and now have an even broader perspective about certain things. And okay, I’m not going to lie when I say my heart melted when my 6 yo hugged me and told me that I’m like Wonder Woman (he didn’t tell me why, but that’s for him to decide).

When I was a teenager, I read my dad’s Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz paperbacks, and I enjoyed them (Ken Follett’s “men’s adventures” were some of my favorites, TBH). But my dad also had his Danielle Steele paperbacks that filled up an entire shelf on his floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and I read a lot of those as well. I still remember the day when he gestured to his personal collection and told me that I could read anything I wanted to because I could be anything I wanted to someday.

Maybe even a superhero.

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HelenHelen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager (and this post explains why). An author of both paranormal and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the Mythology trilogy (MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, THE ETERNAL), and contemporary romance-suspense LOSING ENOUGH. You can find out more about her writing life at www.helenboswell.com.