This really made me think about the kind of books I love the most. One of my favorites is about the struggle between two sisters. Another is about the elimination of individuality. And there’s an over-arching theme of the desire to belong in almost every book that holds a special place in my heart. I naturally identify with books that deal with difficult problems in my life.
And yet, I often avoid tackling these difficult issues in my books. It’s easy to understand why. These issues are so paramount in my own life that I’m hesitant to share them with the world, worried I might expose too much of myself. On top of facing my fears, I think I avoid these topics because I don’t want to relive them. Rehashing the past and the present can be painful.
Other times, my failure to write about these topics is less intentional. Sometimes, as a writer, I get so wrapped up in creating a new world, or focusing on a completely original topic, that I forget about the importance of relevant conflict. I have the tendency to read fiction that is nothing like my real life in an attempt to escape my problems . It’s the books that do touch on my psyche that impact me the most, however, so I need to remind myself to incorporate universal themes in my fantasy and paranormal works. Just because the book isn’t realistic fiction doesn’t mean it can’t be totally relevant to the modern reader.
The emotional stories are the ones which need telling. Base these topics in reality or in fantasy – either one is okay – but difficult topics matter. They got me through my own life, and they serve an important purpose. I might cry while writing them, but they have a very real place in books, and we’d be smart to do them justice.