**THIS GIVEAWAY HAS BEEN EXTENDED A WEEK!**
I’ve gabbed quite a bit about Kate Scott and her forthcoming debut novel, Counting to D, and with just cause! It’s a fabulous book and she’s a fabulous person. Today I have two exciting things going on: first, I’m going to give away a copy of her book. To enter, just comment on this post. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Giveaway closes next Tuesday 2/18 at 11:59 pm and I’ll announce the winner on my 2/19 WUW post. Good luck!
The second exciting thing is today’s post, a guest post by Kate herself! I asked her to blog about what it’s like to write about such a personal topic. She nailed it.
Please Write by Kate Scott
There are a lot of reasons why I write—why I wrote Counting to D, and why I’ve kept on writing since I finished it. There are a lot of reasons why every writer writes: the joy of creation, the pull of the muse. Sometimes, writing feels like a game. Other times, it feels like a chore. And sometimes, it’s personal.
Counting to D is a contemporary young adult novel about a dyslexic teenager. For me, that story is personal. Once upon a time, I was a dyslexic teenager. Now I’m a dyslexic adult. There are a lot of reasons why I wrote this book, but the biggest reason is also the simplest: nobody else was writing it.
I remember seeing Rainman as a kid. I didn’t know anything about autism before that movie came out. Then I watched Dustin Hoffman’s performance, and suddenly, I felt like I understood. Not everything, but at least a little bit. When I heard about other people with autism, I could think, “Like the guy in Rainman.”
I was diagnosed with dyslexia a little over a year before Rainman made it to the big screen. At the time, I remember wondering, who’s going to star in the big dyslexia movie? Who was going to give a face to the condition I had to live with every day? But it never happened. Nobody ever made a big block-busting dyslexia movie.
Percy Jackson, the title character of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians, is dyslexic. So I haven’t been completely forgotten by mass media. But I’m not Percy Jackson. Unlike him, I’m not the child of a Greek god; I’m just a regular person. A regular, dyslexic person who sometimes doesn’t feel very regular at all.
Every child, every person, deserves to see themselves in a book. Teachers, librarians, and kid lit advocates all over the world keep saying that. There needs to be more diversity in children’s literature because every child needs to be able to pick up a book and say, “This character is just like me.” But a lot of people’s stories aren’t being told.
I’ve always loved stories. Learning to read was VERY HARD for me, but thankfully, I discovered audiobooks early. My behavior as a young child often resembled that of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby. As an added bonus, I grew up a few miles away from the real Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon. I remember listening to Ramona’s stories as a little kid and thinking she was just like me.
Then I got older, and the similarities between Ramona and me became less apparent. For decades, I waited for somebody to write an honest and accurate dyslexia story. My story. But nobody did. I knew the story. I’d lived it. Eventually, I got tired of waiting, and I realized I had no choice but to write it myself.
The phrase “write what you know” is overused in the writing world. A lot goes into writing, and a four-word catch phrase oversimplifies things. But there is still value in writing what you know because you know your story. If nobody else is telling your story, please write. Write because you aren’t alone, and other people who have similar experiences might be desperately waiting for your words. Write for the people who are different than you, too. If you don’t share your story with the rest of us, how will we ever know? How can we learn?
I write for a lot of reasons. I write fiction, and not everything I say is personal. But a lot of it is. I think that is important. There are things that I know, and if I don’t write them down, who will? You know things, too. So please, write.
I love this post. It applies to all of us, too. Thanks, Kate!