Sometimes Writing is Like Getting a Re-Do
Have you ever heard someone say, “Man, I wish I knew then what I know now?” We all wish we could go back and change something we did or something we said to another person in our past. Sometimes writing allows me to do just that. Let me explain. I got the idea for my first middle grade novel, My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours, one day when I was thinking about how one of my BFFs stole my fake boyfriend when we were in 7th grade. Back then I was jealous of the girls who were “going out” with boys at school so I made up my own boyfriend and bragged about him. And he was dreamy and perfect—very attentive, super cute, and bought me great gifts. A week or so into our fake relationship, I got tired of the charade and I figured he’d served his purpose; I now had the “boyfriend” experience. So I made a big production of “dumping” him in front of this particular friend at my house. I “called” him up, told him he and I were through, and then took the necklace he “gave” me and threw it in the trash. I wasn’t at school for some part of the next week and one of my other friends called me and said the one friend (the one who was at my house during my epic dumping) was wearing the necklace at school (she fished it from my trash!) and was telling everyone that he broke up with me for her. I couldn’t believe it. She stole my fake boyfriend! I never confronted her about it, I mean, what could I say? He’s not dating you because I made him up? It would have given me away, too. So I let it go. But years later I wrote about two BFFs and how they both think each other’s boyfriends are fake and all the trouble that can get you in.
With my new middle grade novel, Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker, I thought back to a time in college when I really, really liked this one guy. But then my close friend told me she was head-over-heels for him before I ever said how I was feeling so I felt like I had to back off because she had dibs. And she seemed to like him so much. I thought, maybe she likes him more than me so I should step aside. But they never even got together after all! Can you believe it? She did confess her feelings to him at some point down the road but he didn’t reciprocate. And to make things worse, he commented to me after her confession that he thought I was the one who liked him. And I did! But I felt like I had to stay quiet and didn’t fess up. So I’ve thought about what would have happened if I had just been honest at the time. Would we have worked out as a couple? Would my friendship have ended? I’ve channeled those feelings into Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker. Cici’s friend Aggie has dibs on the guy Cici really, really likes but Aggie liked him first and has been the one vocal about it. What happens when Cici just can’t keep this feeling secret?
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