Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guest Post: How I Wish by Anne Tibbets, author of Shut Up

Today we have Anne Tibbets, author of Shut Up, with an awesome post about writing and how sometimes even an author wishes her characters could change their world for the better. But sometimes thats not how stories go. Here's a synopsis of Shut Up:

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all. ~ Courtesy of Goodreads

"How I Wish" by Anne Tibbets

I’m often times wondering how “Shut Up” could have been different if Gwen had evolved during the story.

Poor, Gwen. She doesn’t, really. Going from Miss Popularity to Mrs. Creep in the course of nine months caused the teen to spiral out of emotional control, and get herself wrapped up in an abusive and destructive teen relationship, which altered the trajectory of her entire life. Not to mention the lives of her children and immediate family.

I wonder, what if Gwen had realized what the Creep was doing…What would she have done differently?

Should she have told him off, banned him from the house, sworn she would never see him again? I considered this. But I also knew that the Creep in my story would have burnt down the house she was living in and killed them all just to spite Gwen for defying him. That was a different story entirely – and a good one, come to think of it – but not the one I wanted to tell.

Should she have put the baby up for adoption and not married the Creep? I wish this is what Gwen would have done. If she were a real teen, right now, coming to the adult me for advice, this is what I would suggest. Now, don’t get me wrong, I personally know some women who were teenaged moms, and they have raised respectable, smart, wonderful children…So, their choice was obviously right for them. But there are a vast majority of teen moms out there with no support system what so ever. No parents are volunteering to help out, no job is on the horizon, no education can be gotten, no nothing – just a teenage mom, totally unequipped to support a baby, who then grows up in poverty and becomes a child, who then grows up to become a teenager, who more than likely ends up repeating the whole teen pregnancy cycle all over again. Those are the ones I’d like to reach: it has to be the hardest thing any woman can do…To hand over your baby, your child, all your love and hopes and dreams bundled into that tiny precious soul, and give it away. But it would have saved Gwen’s “life,” and it would have saved her baby from being raised by a sexual predator.

That’s what I wish Gwen had seen.

But, she was a kid, herself. And she was placing her trust in an individual who had succeeded in isolating her from the family who were so emotionally unable to say just the right thing to combat it. It’s a sad nature of humans that so oftentimes, the one thing that needs to be said, isn’t. Or, if it is, it isn’t believed.

Personally speaking, nothing drives me more mad and insane than convenient conversations in TV and movies. ‘Here, I’ve been mad and angry and lashing out at you, but I’m finally going to tell the truth right now, and you’re going to understand and forgive me for being a total jerk.’ Barf! One: most of the time people are angry and hurt and lash out and they never bother to stop and think WHY they are acting that way. That’s a universal truth about people. We are reactionary. MOST people don’t, with few exceptions, self-analyze.

Two: You can’t un-ring a bell. Just because a family member apologizes for being a jerk, doesn’t take away the hurt, or the pain that was caused, and forgiveness doesn’t happen as quickly as it does in a script. It never does!

Real honest-to-goodness deep conversations about the TRUE issue, the dark underlying subtext of what’s really going on, gets said maybe once or twice in a family’s history – and it’s never as clean or easy as it looks on screen.

So, since that is my honest to goodness opinion on family dynamics, you can now understand why as much as I wanted Gwen to come to her senses, I simply couldn’t write the book that way.

Above all else, I wanted to tell the truth. Take it, or leave it.

Thanks, Anne, for talking to us today about Gwen and Shut Up.

For more about Shut Up check out these sites!

1 comment:

  1. Great guest post from Anne! I just received this book from her and am excited to start it soon.


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