Today, being a Monday, in keeping with my MONDAY CONNECTIONS, I connect you to guest blogger and author, Jennifer Donohoe. Welcome to my wacky blog Jennifer. My children will be happy their faces aren’t plastererd on my blog today…but sheesh…can you blame a proud mom of a now NFL player and another who made local newspapers for a fantastic touchdown a few days ago. But enough bragging. Putting football aside for now, today, we get back to the topic of writing with Jennifer. Take it away, Jennifer.
WHAT’S IN A STORY: So often when we’re in a bookstore, a book cover might grab our attention. We meander over, pick it up, and glance at the back to see what the novel is about. If it grabs our attention, we may buy it. Only after beginning the novel or finishing it do we know the worth of the story told within.
- Did it leave you with anything?
- Are you somehow different from reading the novel?
- Was something taught, even if it’s minute?
As a reader, I consider these questions after finishing a novel. Was it worth the time I spent to read it? Yes, it’s important to relax and not think about anything and be able to get lost in the words seeking to entertain. However, a publisher recently asked me about my work as an author. Once all the basic questions were over, their next question struck a chord.
“What does your book teach the reader?” I knew this was an important question and before I could answer it, they brought up some of the leading novels on the market now. Each of the publisher partners asked me if I read them and if I learned anything from it. For most of them, I had to admit, I learned nothing. Then the discussion turned back to my work.
Sticking with my own morals and principles and answering the question regardless of the outcome, I said, “yes, my story teaches about making choices. It shows the reader our own choices and those of others affect our lives directly or indirectly.” Their response, “That’s what we’re looking for. We are tired of young adult books and children’s books leaving our kids with ideas of magic, phantom beasts, and nothing to use in the real world.”
So I ask, what’s in a story? Is it leaving a positive impression on the reader? Authors have an important task these days. With no real heroes left and Hollywood going bust on unique and original ideas, who do our kids have to look up to?
Honestly, not much. When an author can intermingle a fantasy story with a real life situation, then children and all others who read it are taught in a very slight way how to deal with life without being told what to do. Simple, everyday issues can be written into fantasy with real-life conclusions. It is possible. Young heroes can battle beasts of greed, anger, or fear and come out wiser from the interaction.
Children and young adults are lost in a world of intoxicating substances, abuse, sex, and the mighty dollar. Shouldn’t the literature they read give them hope? Most young people use books to escape. It becomes a way for them to leave their current state and disappear for a moment in time. While there, they should be armored with well placed clues as how to handle the world they will have to return to when they close the book. At this time in history, fantasy novels have taken on a whole new meaning. Vampires, werewolves, warlocks, witches, and zombies dominate the playing field.
(Sorry Jennifer: Interruption from Holly Michael and a blatant attempt to stick her children in her blog, regardless of the earlier promise not to do so…it does relate, really) Jennifer, let’s not forget Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which seem to be popular with my teenage son and his friends.
(Back to Jennifer, Holly ducking her head)
With this type of power in literature, the next step should be obvious. Teach them how to live in the world where they will occupy most of their time.
Jennifer, thanks for stopping by and offering these enlightening words of wisdom. Jennifer Donohoe has just sent her novel, The Legend of the Travelers: Willow’s Journey, to a reviewer’s desk to prepare it for publishing. Can’t wait! It’s an engaging, heartwarming YA Novel that will surely have a positive influence on readers.
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