Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, March 07, 2008

"It's fiction!"

I have been struggling with certain issues with writing this new MG series. I've mentioned before how I was worried it might incite a negative response from the parents of kids reading these books. Something along the lines of "you shouldn't be filling my kid's head with ghost stories!" or "these children are too young to be reading about kids and ghosts!" But then I remember that these books are NOT meant to be some kind of "guide" or reference for children interested in ghosts.

In fact, they are JUST STORIES. Complete works of FICTION.Yes, I know writers and actors tend to get this very response from people. Who can forget what Timothy Busfield went through after his character made an insensitive remark to his wife in thirtysomething?? It's a nice thought that we can say "it's fiction" or "it's fantasy" and not have to deal with people ready to boycott a show or ban a book. But that's not going to take away the possibility people will still get upset.

I know J.K. Rowling faced this very problem with her Harry Potter books, AFTER they came out. Funny thing is, my situations with writing these books have even been compared with J.K. Rowling, even though MY books aren't even published yet! (Yes, they CAN be considered fantasy instead of suspense or mystery. I'm going to go with that!) And in my case, my books aren't even published yet and I'm worrying over the same thing happening to me NOW. While I am writing Book One. In no way do I expect to be "the next J.K. Rowling" or have "the next Harry Potter." Even though I DO want to say "my books are FANTASY, people!" and hide under the covers. But this kind of thing can happen to EVERY WRITER, EVERY ACTOR. And everyone else trying to spin a good yarn COMPLETELY made of fiction! As in, "NOT TRUE."

The very claim that "it's fiction!" is what is helping me to deal with this inner turmoil and write my stories, anyway. Why am I writing them, anyway? I am writing them for the readers. I KNOW that there will always be readers who understand that a story is only a story. That it's not real. That it's all make-believe. And I really think that kids are smart enough to understand that it's all make-believe, too. Most kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They know that a story is just something made-up. They read these stories for the sheer purpose of escaping into that fantasy world. Of playing pretend. It's an experience so many children know so well, and one which so many of them enjoy. For this reason, the writing of these books will continue.

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