Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I Wrote my Pitch Wars Book

My friend Carlee asked all of us Pitch Wars mentees to blog the answer to this question:

Why did you write your Pitch Wars book?

I've thought over that all day. There are multiple answers.

I suppose it began with the shooting in CT. Something about that particular shooting shook me in a way I still can't account for. I wrote a poem about it. I fought panic attacks. I went from not being fond of guns to being terrified of guns.

Everyone was talking about school shootings in a way I hadn't heard since Columbine... when I was in high school myself. Everyone had theories and solutions and laments and fear and anger...

Somewhere along the way, I landed in a conversation about how the majority of school shooters are white middle-class males. And I asked myself what would make a girl pull off a school shooting.

I started writing a story then, but not this story. Instead, I wrote a story about a girl who is afraid she could somehow become a monster... in the background of Haven's story, there was a female school shooter on the news. Her name was Chris.

I danced around her.

I was afraid of her.

Haven's story couldn't hold me. I knew it was Chris's story I needed to tell, but I didn't know enough about her.

And being inside her head scared me.

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So I had to write her. Because writing what scares me is what I do.

Still, I was missing a piece. I didn't KNOW her story, so how could I tell it?

Eventually, a teacher made the news. And the news he made gutted me. I felt a violent sort of anger, and then I knew Chris's story. I knew what could make a girl pull off a school shooting.

There is a girl out there who never got to tell her story. She didn't kill a teacher or take a gun to school. She didn't live long enough to do any of that.

I wrote Renascence for two reasons... for justice and for truth.

The girl who didn't kill her teacher never got justice. I wanted to give her some in my tiny little way. But also, truth... the truth that violence isn't the answer. That no school shooter walks away in tact... even if they don't take their own life.

Like Harry learned about horcruxes... when we hurt someone else, we slice away parts of ourselves.

I wanted to get inside Chrissy's head AFTER the shooting, not before. We're all so familiar with the stories of before... the bullying and the depression and the video games and whatever other reasons or theories people come up with. The before isn't new any longer, and it's sad we live in a world where I can say that. The before is no longer surprising.

But the after... how would doing such a terrible thing affect the person who did it? How could she live after committing that crime? How would she feel?

Could the world ever see her as human instead of a monster?

Should they?

I don't have the answers to these questions.

All I have is a story. A story about a girl who makes a decision she may never be able to live with. I'll tell my story. You can draw your own conclusions.

Take a moment to visit some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees and alternates at the following links:



  1. hmmm I have been thinking a lot about monsters and humans lately... About how we label certain people as monsters that deserve no understanding or justice and I think under that is a lot of our own fear.. is we see people who have done terrible things as people, we have to accept that we could do the same horrible things... and of course we don't want tp consider ourselves capable of such acts... so we label them as monsters,,, that way we don't have to consider them part of our shared humanity... Ofcourse, interestingly enough, it is this exact denying others their humanity, that does awaken the monsters in ourselves... It is easier to hurt monsters, easy to put them in concentration camps, to torture mudbloods, to execute terrorists.. and so whenever we label the ones we are afraid of as monsters out of an effort to defend our own humanity... we actually deny our own humanity as well..

    and then Jesus... God on high who can easily see us as vile, wretched creatures, who in all glory and goodness had every right to not share our lives, but yet, he came, into humanity, sharing our humanity, not being afraid of putting on that same humanity as the ones that killed him, as all the terrorists, as every deeply disturbed person...

    It's why I love Jesus...

  2. I can't wait to see this one on the shelves!

  3. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing how your story evolved. It's amazing how much school violence affects us all, so kudos on addressing something so heavy. Wishing you the best of luck!

  4. I love delving into characters like this, especially when approached this way, examining the gray areas. I look forward to reading this.

  5. Wow, this sounds wonderful. I agree with Susan's comment above--stories that examine the gray areas are so important.

  6. Wow! I was riveted reading this. And I agree with the above posters...the gray areas are always the most interesting. Good luck!

  7. I in awe of your courage tackling this subject. What a profound way to go about it as well. I have often wondered about the perspective of the people who do such vicious things to others, but it's scary to crawl into their skin to try to understand it. So kudos to you for taking that step. Good luck!

  8. This sounds amazing. I can't wait to see it in print.

  9. I think this sounds fascinating--and hard. But I don't think anyone is wholly good or wholly bad and its those flawed areas that interest me. Good luck this week!

  10. Wow. Your story sounds incredible. I'd love to read it!

    Good luck in PW!

  11. I remember the CT shooting. It hit me like no other incident like it ever had before. I applaud your bravery for digging so deeply into your character's psyche. Good luck tomorrow!

  12. Props to you for writing Chris's story, even though it scared you!

  13. Oh, I so want to read Chrissy's story!

  14. Oh, wow. Such powerful motivation. I'm so fascinated with your idea. Best of luck tomorrow!


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