Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

She, Not Me!

If you've ever shared one of your stories with a non-writer you've probably heard this before. “Oh, is that about you?” Those who bother to ask usually mean well enough, but this is honestly one of the most annoying questions I have received as a writer. Worse is when the person who asked the question won't believe my answer.

Dear lord people, there is more to a story than real life—hence the term “story” and not “memoir”, or “journal”, or “article”! Believe it or not, it is possible to write about characters other than oneself.

Last year I spent a lot of time working on a realistic fiction story about a girl who is forced change schools in 8th grade and the challenges she faces with bullying in her new environment. Perhaps I should have changed it a bit more before I let a few of my classmates read it. As an 8th grader in a new school, I spent the next few days listing to exclamations of “I get it, it's about you!” and receiving knowing looks whenever I tried to explain the differences between me and my main character; starting with the fact that I do not keep bees nor do I have a beloved pet tarantula. And even if I did have a pet spider—though I'd really prefer a snake—I would never name it “Gracie”.

So yeah, there's my rant, but I don't believe for a second that this rant doesn't belong to every other writer to. I wish every non-writer I know could read this and understand where I'm coming from, but the only ones who even begin to get it are the other kinds of artists who have faced this problem with their own medium. And the really ironic thing is that I'm posting this in a place where chances are no non-writer will ever read it. Go figure.





Join the Discussion

This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

SaphiraBrightscales This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm
See mostly those who read naturally do feel that impulse to write so yep, you're right zero chances of a non-writer reading this...and I can definetly relate...
 
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm
I still have this problem sometimes. Oh non-writers... :P
 
SaphiraBrightscales This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 15, 2013 at 11:31 am
Me too.... :D
 
KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm
True. Sometimes you do write about yourself, but mostly you don't. I was talking to a girl at my school today, and she asked what I wrote about, but there isn't just one right answer. I told her that I wrote about how awesome I am (being sarcastic). I agree with this.
 
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm
Thanks for your comment. :) I've gotten that question a lot. My go to answer is "poetry, unicorns, and angry rants".
 
KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm
Yeah, I hope you don't mind if I start using that now!
 
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm
I'd be honored. :D
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback