Guest Post: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L Salter

Aimee L. Salter lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and son. She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you’re really thinking. And she’ll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn’t.

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Do Authors Write Real People into their Books?

It’s a question I get asked a lot. After all, I wrote a book about a redhead (like me), who got bullied (like I did), in a high school that looks similar to my old school on the page.

It would be easy to think that I’d just taken my life and turned it into a story (except, maybe, the part about the main character being able to talk to her future self through the mirror). But the reality is, more often than not real life doesn’t actually translate well to fiction. Not to mention that if you’re trying to turn your real life or people you know into a book, there’s limited material available.

Instead what tends to happen is that authors become collectors and observers, constantly gathering emotions, events, and interactions from their real lives, and twisting them into something that serves a fictional story.

For example, in my book the main character, Ashley, is severely bullied at school. While none of the scenes in the book which show Ashley being bullied are reconstructions of moments like that in my life,

I did draw on my experiences – the emotions I felt; the expressions, body language, and motivations I gathered from those who’d targeted me. The type of responses from people who saw it happen.

Rather than taking my experiences and turning them into a story, I took the tones of people’s voices, the feelings I had when walking down the hall, the reasoning offered during arguments I had with teachers or coaches about the issue, and so much more.

My real life experiences inspired and fuelled my story. But in the end, the story had to be told in a way that would make it most satisfying for readers. That wasn’t a re-telling of my story. That is in using real life emotions to drive fictional characters.

There’s a famous quote from the Irish writer, John Connelly: “Writers are magpies by nature, always collecting shiny things, storing them away and looking for connections of things.”

I think he says it well. So, if you know an author of fiction, don’t worry. Chances are, if anything you’ve said or done is being magpied into a story, it won’t be recognizable to anyone else . . . except maybe the author!

 
 
 
about the book
22818100

Every Ugly Word
By: Aimee Salter
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Published: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary

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When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

One Thought on “Guest Post: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

  1. Interesting guest post — I’ll be reading this soon!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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