“If you love writing, do it, no matter what anyone says. There are people who have told me that The Rival is boring, stupid, pointless, and a waste of time. (And they are entitled to their opinion. It’s a free country.) But I love The Rival, and my sister Rebecca loves it, and you enjoyed it, too. That’s what’s important. If you write, someday someone will say your writing is bad. Don’t let their opinion – which they are entitled to! – come between you and the writing you love.
Next most important to writing a good book is to have a good story. A good story has at least the following three things:
- Something important to the main character must be at risk. For example, in The Rival, Bex’s big sister Beatrix has been kidnapped. Imagine if the story was just about Bex and Beatrix going to get ice cream on a sunny day, and the worst thing that happened was Bex dropped her cone on the ground. That would not be too interesting. A good story has risk and danger to something extremely important to the main character.
- The main character must have an important decision to make. In The Rival, Bex must decide whether to risk her life and career – and those of her close friends – to save her sister. And, once Beatrix is saved, she must decide whether to try to find a way to stop Dr. Andronicus. Imagine if the biggest decision Bex had to make was whether to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream. That is not too important and therefore not too exciting. A good story contains decisions that are hard to make and have big consequences.
- The main character must be changed in a meaningful way by the end. In The Rival, Bex starts out as a student, her biggest concern planning how to win the next Apian Dance competition. But by the end, Bex is the commander of the very small army that stands between the good people of the world and the evil schemes of Dr. Andronicus. She has to learn how to lead and be brave. Imagine if in The Rival, the biggest change that happened to Bex was that she decided she likes chocolate ice cream best. That’s not very meaningful. A good story shows how something important happened inside the heart of the main character.
Best of luck with your writing, and keep up the good work.”
I like this letter I wrote to a fan. So I shared it.
The chicken says “if you love writing, do it”.
Chicken by Lily, from Utah.