For tonight’s Twin Thursday post with Rachel from Undivinelight, we’re looking at a book that changed our writing. Not the what. Not the how. The why. The thing that brings us back to the keyboard day after grueling day. For me, that’s Tamora Pierce’s first book, Alanna.
Now, more than a decade after first reading it, I have books that I enjoy more than that one. Even from among Pierce’s work. But Alanna stands out for a reason: it’s a fantasy book written for girls like me. It was the first work that I remember reading that really drove home to me that women not only could write but could write the kind of stories that I wanted to tell. Stories for girls who want to go on adventures like the boys. Whose defining characteristic isn’t who she falls in love with or the color of her hair, eyes, and dress. That female characters could be brave, quick-tempered, who don’t have to “pretty-cry” when they’re upset.
The reason this stands out to me is that it gave me the courage to pursue writing for myself, to tell stories to young women who feel like I felt. It keeps me going when the rejections start coming in (and, boy, do they ever) or when I hit a block on a story. Sometimes it helps me to take a step back and imagine someone pulling my novel from a shelf and feeling that, yeah, there’s an audience for this. I can do it, too. If I can do that for just one person, it makes the whole thing worth it!