Sunday, February 10, 2013

Walking a Fine Line

I recently finished reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I won't spoil the ending so it's safe to keep reading. The story is about a young boy, Auggie, with a deformed face who struggles for acceptance from his classmates. The character has wit and an inner strength that I fell in love with. 

I admire the writing and the fine line the author had to walk. There were scenes where I said to myself, "let him enjoy himself," "let him be like everyone else." But even as I said it, I knew that couldn't happen. If the story was to be believable, he would have to be teased, stared at or talked about. 

Here's where the fine line comes in. How does a writer be true to the story without alienating the readers? In this case, the readers with physical deformities or other challenges that read fiction because they want to escape into another world where they can take a respite from their own struggles or tormentors. Or the family members who see the hurtfulness of others toward their loved one and don't want to read about a character's emotional pain when they live with it.

As stated earlier, I won't spoil the ending. I recommend this book, especially if you're a writer and struggling with writing those difficult scenes that must be written in order for your story to be authentic.

What scenes are you struggling with?

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