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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Issues? What Issues?



As a reader and a writer, I love social issues. One of my earliest favorite books was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which dealt with a sixth grader's search for religion, as well as acceptance from her group of friends. In fact, I loved all of Judy Blume's books as she told stories about young teens dealing with divorce, masturbation/early sexuality, scoliosis, and young love.



I also enjoyed the stories of 'I was A Teenage Alcoholic/Drug Addict/Runaway'. I think I checked the teen alcohol addiction one out of the library so many times, my name was the only one on the entire card.  That isn't the book, but it sounds similar to the one I remember.

I learned to stay away from these pitfalls of the teenage years. And they weren't told in a preachy manner. No; quite the opposite. Sometimes it was rather humorous.



And that's what I've has tried to do in my books; weave the social issues into the story lines in order to show how even good kids can make disastrous choices. Throughout the Arbor University series, young women learn the choices they make can affect their overall outcome in life. Sometimes it's a good change; other times not so good. As one reader put it, as she identified with a particular character, "It's nice to see what my life would have been, had I stayed on track."

As for when I'm writing as Kenzie, I don't consciously add in a social issue; it just happens to sneak in. For instance, I had no idea sexual harassment would rear its ugly head in Teacher's Pet. I had to stop writing for two days and research. In All She Ever Wanted, my expanded chapters suddenly dealt with health department citations. Again, I had to stop and research.



In Wild At Heart, gambling addiction showed up. Off The Clock shows a young woman who's the sole caregiver of her Alzheimer's-stricken mother, and the horrific issue of elder abuse (not the woman, but her brother). 

So my advice to anyone wanting to write about issues, be it political, gay rights, whatever...weave it into the story in such a manner it does not come across preachy. The reader should not even realize they are being educated until after they're finished reading.

Happy Reading:)

12 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Great post! My Loving Leonardo came right out of the headlines two summers ago. I put a Victorian spin on them. Funny how things change yet stay the same...

Paris said...

Interesting post. I think many were drawn to the Judy Blume books because she did discuss the real issues. Her books were empowering.

infant costume said...

It is this type of interesting thing with this post of yours. I had been interested with all the topic along with the flow in the story. Keep up to date the truly amazing work.

Sandy said...

Molly, I loved this post, and I, also, use this format to write about social issues. My Riverboat Mysteries is about addictions as well as family issues.

Thanks for a great post.

Jeanine said...

Great post Molly. I like to weave social issues into my stories too. Thanks!

Molly Daniels said...

It's great to see others do this too:) Thank you!

Cara Marsi said...

Molly, I think it's wonderful the way you're able to weave social issues into your stories.

Melissa Keir said...

I loved that Judy Blume book. I could identify with the main character and often sat and wondered if I was "normal".

Social issues tie us all together. We've all known someone or been someone who has faced these challenges. By reading a story we can look at our own choices and play them out in a different way...sort of what if??

jean hart stewart said...

Lots of interesting thoughts there. Social issues can't help but pop up or the writer's suppressing too much.

vicki batman said...

Very good post. I often find research can be fun too. I didn't read Judy Blume, but am thinking maybe I should.

B.C. Brown said...

The fact that you do write real issues into your stories has always kept me returning. You know how fussy I am about the romance I choose over, say, something darker. :)

glenys said...

Really good post - we may be writing fiction but that's no reason we can't weave in 'real life' problems - in fact, I think as writers we really ought to use these in our plots. It's not being preachy, it's being responsible, yes?

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