The best writing I have done is when I’m honest.
By “honest” I don’t mean telling the literal truth in every detail. Fiction takes an honest truth and dresses it up in an imaginary situation that is clearer, more focused, pared of extraneous distractions, than reality. Fiction erases the parts that could embarrass the innocent or tempt us to flock too quickly to predetermined viewpoints.
My characters are not me (though parts of them are derived from parts of me), and their opinions and tastes and fears and goals are not always mine, and their struggles are not always mine. What is mine is the theme, the heart of each book. I do believe the things my characters discover: that relationships built on secrecy and obsession cost us. That not every mistake can be undone. That forgiveness is possible. That we don’t have to let others define us. That life can be brutally hard and even the good times don’t last forever, but it’s still very much worth living.
Through story, we unpack truth in all its complexities, its challenges and dilemmas. We grow toward the truth along with the characters. Each story is a Pandora’s box of trouble and conflict, and those troubles wear many names and disguises. We look into the bottom of the box to see something true and unchangeable shining there.
Jennifer R. Hubbard is the author of several YA novels, including The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe, as well as short stories, essays, and Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion.