When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Before the days of Fanfic online, my best friend Cate and I would trade off a journal where we would write Fanfic about the New Kids on the Block. Granted there was no smut – it was more adventures of what would happen if we went on the road with them.
The world of writing has come a long way since then and we are no longer writing in journals. Instead, we all have the ability to put anything online. It’s a different world, but that’s a positive thing.
Why is it a positive thing?
Because a world of young writers who feel like they don’t have a voice, now have the ability to speak loudly and have someone hear them. And those who would not be heard otherwise now have the chance to be heard.
So you ask, what does that have to do with Anna Todd? I will tell you what.
I was sitting at the train station today (yes, we have those in Los Angeles) and a girl who was about 16 was reading After. Her friends were sitting next to her. There was four of them, all reading and talking about After. As they turned the pages, they would make comments, “Oh Hardin’s such an ass”, “Hardin’s so sexy”, “I would never put up with that”, were just some of the comments that I heard them saying.
I asked one of them what they liked so much about the book and she said to me, “I love the tension in the book, but After inspired me to write.”
After having a few minute talk with the kids, they told me that their friends have text conversations about After and some of them have started writing stories.
The truth is After is important because it has launched people into talking. Not just here in the US, but around the world. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to talk about the characters. But it’s getting people to write.
How can that be a bad thing?
We’ve learned doing the After Book Club that the book people are passionate about After. If we have learned one thing about doing Wattpad Fridays, it’s that people want to write. And what we have learned from you – the fans – it’s that After is important to you and that’s what makes it important to the world.
And we’ve learned more about why it means something to you. We’ve been asking you questions during ‘After’ book club. Seeing your passion has made us excited for the series. It’s not just the girl that I met on the subway. It’s all of you.
But its the fact that someone who is close to your age, someone who understand what you are going through – that’s what matters. What matters is that you have a voice that has inspired you to use yours.
I get it – the world may judge her, and the thing is she speaks up and acts as a voice for you. That makes her an inspiration.
I will never fight with the world when you are given a place to air your voice. I will always support and encourage authors that inspire you to believe in your hopes and dreams.
Where for me – that may have been Twilight and Stephanie Meyer, for you – that’s Anna Todd. And that makes After really damn important.
So when people ask you why you are reading Fan Fiction – why you are not reading the classics – you can tell them, because this gives me hope that I can follow my dreams.
Whatever you are reading, whatever you are writing – continue. And if you are writing – email it to us. We’d love to feature some of the stories that Anna has inspired in After Fridays.