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Why My Fantasy World Includes Suicidality and Other Sad Stuff

The Power and Responsibility of a Writer


Where do movie makers get their ideas for the next blockbuster?
Writers.
How do the news get to our Facebook timeline?
Writers.
How do we decide which new diet to follow, or what new habit to start? Probably an article or a blog written by... yep, you guessed it.

One of the Most Important Jobs

Writers have one of the most important jobs in the world. 

From the comfort of their home, couch, bed, or office, they get to set the next trend, create the next cultural staple, and at times, they even mold the next generation of minds. 

This might sound like an over-the-top statement, but think about it. Really think.

Even the glossiest of magazines containing the latest trends, have articles featuring everything from celebrity gossip to love advice. Why? Because people don't just respond to images, they respond to words.

Sure, a picture might be what draws you to click on an ad, but it's the description of the item that prompts you to hit 'BUY.'

As a writer, if I'm going to put words to paper, I have to make them count for something. Ideally, something great.

A Recognizable Darkness

Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash
I barely noticed when someone lifted my hand off Julian’s wrist to treat his wound and bandage him at lightning speed, because when I finally looked up to meet his eyes, they were distant, disconnected, looking through me as if I were made of air. His lips were chapped, his face tear-stricken and ashen. The beautiful honey-green of his irises was lost in a darkness I recognized all too well. "DREAMER" by D.S. Fisichella

"Why are your stories so dark?"

It's a fair question. After all, isn't there already enough pain and suffering in the world? Why bring more into it? What's the point of fabricating heartache?

My maiden name is Gonzalez. I am an immigrant. My parents moved me here when I was only eight years old. At the time I didn't speak any English...

It's been eighteen years, but although I've come a very long way, there are some things that never leave me, no matter how many shoes I outgrow. 

As you can probably imagine, I had my share of struggles and culture shock growing up. This new land offered all the cool gadgets and comforts of a first world country, but it lacked all of the love and warmth of my third world home.

In my novel, "DREAMER," my main character, a sixteen-year-old songwriter named Elleni, deals with a trauma that causes her to have songwriter's block. What my reader's may not realize is that it's a struggle based on a true story: my story.

To this day, the one subject I can't seem to fully write about is the day I left my friends and family in Costa Rica.

The move from my place of birth to where I now live was so traumatic that it led to over a decade of untreated depression. 

For years I couldn't pinpoint the reason why I could wear a smile on my face for everyone else, but when I was alone all I wanted to do was cry. I attributed it to relationship problems, a poor body image, and even bullying, but...

It wasn't until the end of my freshman year in college, after my roommate discovered that I'd tried to commit suicide, that I was sent to see a therapist. She was the first person to make the connection between my trauma and my depression.

It's been years since I sat across from a therapist, but there are times when I still suffer because of the chemical imbalance in my brain. However, through life's blows, (the loss of a much needed job, a miscarriage, untimely goodbyes,) I've been able to persevere.

The reason I became a writer is  not because I have my stuff together, but because I know that through my experience, I might actually be able to make a difference!

Power in our Fingertips

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

"Closing my eyes, I imagined a symphony trickling from somewhere in my mind, I felt the chill of it on my neck, the tension in my shoulders, the rush down my arm, the power in my fingertips. If only the music could flow to my pen and through the ink." DREAMER by D.S. Fisichella


Although this quote from my novel is referring to songwriting, all writers know the feeling of power in their fingertips. What is to be done about this power? Are we to simply bask in its glory? Roll in its riches? Or, like a famous uncle once said, is there a great responsibility that comes with it?

If you are an up and coming writer or an unpublished author, you may not even want to ask yourself the impact your writing will have on your readers. After all, you'd be lucky to even make it in this competitive field, right?

Wrong.

If you don't start thinking about how you're going to touch your readers lives now, then when will it ever be a good time? What better time to establish yourself as a responsible writer?

What do I mean by being a responsible writer? Well, let's take a look:

re·spon·si·ble

/rəˈspänsəb(ə)l/

adjective

All you have to do is type in the word 'responsible' into your Google Search bar and you'll be able to read it for yourself! Sure, this definition is not specifically for writers, but I submit to you that as world builders and shakers, we ought to apply it to our craft.

If we think about our readers every time we put fingers to keyboard, perhaps we will be a little more careful about the world we are weaving together for them.

Writing is not just a self-benefiting profession... it is one that, like our life, impacts everyone close enough to get involved. It is our duty and responsibility to make sure that the impact we have on our readers is a positive one. 

Now that we've established that as writers we ought to write responsibly, does that mean we should stray away from tough subjects?

Of course not!

We must simply find a way to introduce these subjects in such a way that the reader is able to learn the lessons right along with the characters in your story.

I know this should go without saying, but be careful about what you pour into your reader's hearts and minds. 

"But I write about hard topics... is that too much?"

I am so glad you asked...

It's not too much!

Part of our responsibility as writers is to write a story that our readers can relate to, or at the very least, learn from.

 The key here is to make the risk worth taking. 

The same way you won't let the thought of your Granny reading your book keep you from writing that steamy scene, the possibility of you impacting a reader negatively cannot keep you from getting your story out there.

Pop Quiz!

Q: Why is it okay for your MC (Main Character) to spiral?
A: Because they will see redemption in the form of victory, or a lesson well learned.
 Q: Why is it okay to kill off a character?
A:  Because death is a part of our reality and we all need to learn how to deal with it.
 Q: Why is it okay to put your characters through hardship?
 A: Because hardship produces patience, and patience, endurance, and endurance, hope.

At the end of the day, isn't hope what makes our hardships worthwhile?

So, you're a writer. That's amazing! Remember that you've got the power... what you do with said power is up to you.

I cover tough subjects because real life is tough. The good thing, is that as unfamiliar, unpredictable, or hazardous as it may be, no one ever has to go at it alone.

If I manage to communicate that message, then I'll know I've done my job.

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