Up until about the 5th or 6th grade, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants in my school. The dress code allowed skirts just above knee level (although a lot of girls…myself included…would roll up the waist band a time or two to shorten the length of those skirts to a more “acceptable” level for pre-teens girls attempting to catch the eye of pre-teen boys.
One year I began the school year only to discover the school board changed the rules and girls were now allowed to wear pants in school. Everyone quickly went out to purchase a hefty supply of cool looking blue jeans.
Everyone, that is, except me.
Coming from a poor family and being the youngest of four children, the chances of a snowball in Hades was greater than my being able to avoid going to school in hand me downs. But a girl’s gotta have a dream and I dreamed of a bright blue pair of jeans so I could dress incognito to hopefully blend in with the “in” crowd at school.
I still remember that Christmas and how excited my mother was for me to open one particular present. At first I thought all my youthful dreams had come true when I uncovered a beautiful pair of blue jeans in just my size. I was thrilled. That is, until I took it out of the box and discovered it was trimmed at the bottom with about three inches of a tacky plaid cuff. My mother was waiting to see my reaction and for a moment I couldn’t speak.
I KNEW if I wore those pants to school I would be mocked and ridiculed for not only being poor, but now I would be considered a dork as well. But one look at my mother’s face and I also KNEW it had taken her time and precious money she didn’t have in order to, for once, give me a chance to wear brand new, store bought clothes.
What else could I do but thank her and wear the jeans?
Sadly, my peers were just as unforgiving as I expected and whenever I was forced to wear those jeans I wanted to become incognito for an entirely different reason…
Writers sometimes hide inside their main characters in order to see the world through their eyes…to better understand what they might be going through as they deal with their own struggles. Writers may want to wave to the world from inside their story, but experien0ced authors realize to stay hidden is to stay objective to the potential twists and turns of every situation the main character encounters.
Readers should never have even a hint the author is living incognito, somewhere within the pages of their manuscript. The audience doesn’t necessarily want to be influenced by the writer’s persona, but rather, wants the freedom to slip on that cloak of being incognito right along with the main character and hopefully experience the adventure of a lifetime.
And who are we to say they shouldn’t do just that?
International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.