Superversive Blog: What Stories Do!

Today we have a special treat, another post from the fantastic teen author, April Freeman.

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Teen author extraordinaire: April Freeman

Not everyone loves reading, but who can resist a good story?

There is something about a good story. The way it pulls you in, the way it makes you want more, the way it makes you feel.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a very emotional person. I like to think rationally; I don’t like the idea of my emotions overriding my will very much. Yet I love to obsess over fictional characters and the way they make me cry, laugh, agonize, rejoice, and just feel.

There’s something about diving into a good story. Opening up our hearts and feelings to the direction of the author’s pen strokes. Even though it will take hours of our time, hours of our thoughts, and even wreck our emotions sometimes, we still gladly take the plunge.

Even when the stories are not fiction, people still like stories. Why do people like the news channels? Why do people like gossip? Why do people spend hours on Netflix?
Because they want stories. A source of entertainment, a way to take you out of yourself for a time, to make you imagine something new.

And, to make you feel.

There’s something almost safe about fictional stories. Sure, you can have your emotions torn apart, tossed in a blender, thrown off a cliff, and you don’t know what awaits you at the bottom. But that’s the point, you live with the character, you go through it all, you feel. But then, after it’s over and you’ve had time to recover, life outside hasn’t changed. The bills still have to be paid, jobs are waiting, errands must be run, and “real” life goes on as usual. The story was a trill, and you can’t wait for the next one, but life goes on.

It’s like a roller coaster. You scream, you yell, your stomach flips, you’re falling, you’re flying, and you’ve never been so scared and exhilarated at the same time. You feel like you’re going to die, but in the back of your mind you know that the straps have you, and the likeliness of injury is very small. At the end, you get off and walk on to the next thing.

In a similar way, that is how it is with stories. Even though you don’t know how it will end, you know there will be an end. And at the end of the day, it’s all imaginary anyway.
You have that freedom—that safety in a way—to let yourself go, to live, and to feel. And it’s not just the hard or crazy emotions; you can feel happiness, suspense, hope, or wonder. If the story can provide it, you can feel it. Dive into it.

So fellow authors, what do we take from this? First thing is that our readers want to feel, but at the same time they don’t want their feelings abused. So we must write in a way as to get them connected and sympathize with the characters. But also, we are responsible for what we do with that connection. Because if all we do is bring them down and give them sad endings, they won’t want to come back for that. The readers want to feel, but by the end they want their feelings to be satisfied. And I, as a reader, know this do be true.

Secondly, what do we as Superversive writers take away from this? In other words, what is a way to make a story Superversive? Give that feeling of wonder. The feeling of being part of something bigger, away from yourself and not alone—the feeling of awe.

To be Superversive is to reach upward, to strive for those moments of joy, of revelation, and hope. Build your story so that you can deliverer those feelings to your readers. That even while everything may be in chaos and death, and fears are close, and you don’t know how everything will turn out, you give them hope. That awe and sense of something bigger and beyond. You stay holding onto the dreams, you give them a piece of calm in the storm, and you inspire.
Because when the story ends, though everything around you in the real world hasn’t changed, your feeling may very well be altered. Emotions can be powerful things.

These emotions can stay with you, and can remind you of something as you shift your focus to the world around you. They can even remind you of the awe and hope you saw in that story, the feelings you experienced. And it’s these feelings that can help carry you through your daily challenges and find that little bit of hope or enjoyment to keep you going.

You can find more charming words by April Freeman at her blog: Lost In La-La-Land

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