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  • sarahjmaxwell

Identity Crisis

Updated: May 31, 2021

There is a lot in life we can learn about ourselves, but it’s not always easy to unravel the things that have lain dormant because of forced conditions – emotional or physical abuse, social hierarchy, mental health - things I explored to a small degree in 'Billy Lemonade'.

We’re the person we’re conditioned to be. Our parents/guardians have ultimate control in the early stages of our lives and that sets a precedent that can be tricky to overcome.

I decided to write this ‘personal’ blog because of the question - 'why do I write YA fiction?'

What qualifies me to write YA fiction?

I opened a can of worms, but ultimately (and without getting TOO personal), the dichotomy around identity enthrals me and 'teenage' identity was particularly complex for me.

I’ve never been entirely sure who I am, and this is something left over from a patriarchal childhood. Misogyny reigned supreme. My voice never heard. In consequence, as I got older, I was confused, resentful, reckless, angry. Writing set me free.

Writing YA allowed me to explore other versions of myself. Who I wanted to be, who I could have been, who I was destined to be!

There is an adage in fiction, that you should write about what you know. Okay so bottom-line, don’t write about politics if you have no interest or understanding. However, research is the golden chalice – do it well and you can bluff. If being a politician is secondary to the plot of your romance novel, go right ahead.

But ‘write about what you know’, can be more organic, even in fiction and it doesn’t mean you have to pour your heart and soul out – if you want to do that, write non-fiction/memoir.

When I asked of myself, why do I write YA. I was able to answer, because it’s what I know. The uncertainty of being a teenager has lingered throughout my life and to explore it through my writing, (at a non-scholarly level) is what excites me, alongside a healthy dollop of evil, spooky, fantastical worlds and a dash of history.

Later in 2021, with Whisper Publishing at the helm and guided by InterSaga Literary Agency, I will be releasing 'What the Knocker-Upper Woke Up' and the question of 'who am I?' is crucial to my mc, Tess. More so because I've created a sinister world that exists from the 'corner of our eye'. It's the world we end up trapped within if we aren't true to ourselves.

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1 Comment

lesley bungay
lesley bungay
Jun 08, 2021

I think there’s a little bit of me in everything I write - I too use my fiction writing to explore versions of myself ☺️

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