Friday, September 05, 2008

In Your Head -- Jay

Awhile back, I told you I was re-examining my life’s passions. I wanted to find a way to occasionally stop worrying so much about writing and promotion. I needed to think about something else. I needed a hobby!

But that, apparently, wasn’t what I really needed.

This week, I did something I never thought I’d do. And I definitely never thought I’d tell anyone about it if I did. But it was such a great experience that I want to tell you about it. So here it goes: I went to a shrink.

Wait, wait! I mean, I went to a therapist. (Sorry. Old habit.)

My time “on the couch” wasn’t at all like it’s portrayed in the movies and cartoons. The room was small but brightly lit and I sat on a two-seater couch facing the counselor across the room, as opposed to lounging on my back while staring at the ceiling with the lights dimmed.

So what did I learn? Nothing that shouldn’t have been totally obvious…but wasn’t.

Like most writers, I’m an observer. And I don’t simply observe what other people do, but I try to predict what they will do based purely on visual clues. It’s a fun little exercise which helps when it’s time to figure out individual traits for my characters.

The problem? I’m an observer, but I hate being observed. Even by me!

As a writer, here’s what I found so interesting. Whenever I’m asked which character in Thirteen Reasons Why I most identify with, my answer is automatic. And most outside observers will guess that same character. But when I get really deep into motivation and how a character thinks as opposed to just acts, my answer is different. And looking back at my previous (unpublished) manuscripts, I actually identify more closely…in a much more personal way…with different characters than I originally thought.


It’s almost like my writing could have been used as therapy, but I wasn’t letting it.

Alright, I’m gonna pull myself back into my head for awhile. Thanks for listening. And who should I make the check out to?

- Jay

BONUS COOLNESS: Here's the Italian cover of my book, known over there as 13.


Katie said...

wow! That cover is wicked cool! And I LOVE therapy too!!

What an interesting discovery about your book characters. I need to think about mine




storyqueen said...

Dear Jay,
I've been a lurker on the Disco Mermaids' blog for a while now, I love how you guys are so open and amazing.....I'm not a regular "comment leaver" or anything but I just wanted to say that the time after the first book can be, well, wild. It can get in your head and mess with it a bit.......
I find the best thing is to write. The hoopla is just hoopla, the writing is the magic.

(Yes, it does help fo have a secret hobby, but I won't tell what mine is!)

You can only be who you are.

Take care,


Suzanne Young said...

13.... very cool. Totally Italian. It reminds me of something they would pose for on America's Next Top Model when in Milan. hahha. You know I'm right.

Anyways, it's FIERCE!

Natalie said...

Wow--what a dramatic cover! And I like the blurb: They're 13 innocents...until they press PLAY. (cue Beethoven's 5th...).I wish I could take a picture of it for you on the shelves there--I moved back here too early!

{anonymous} said...

:) wow, that cover makes me wish I could speak Italian!!!!!! i loved Thirteen Reasons Why!

Biggest Fan, Tessa. :)

cynjay said...

Cool cover, although for me 13RW will always be the original cover. This Hannah has quite the attitude...

So do shrinks start freeform writing when they need to analyze themselves? It's nice to know those voices in my head have a purpose.

Disco Mermaids said...

Sorry, cynjay. Those voices in your head are an entirely different issue! But I'm sure it's nothing to be too concerned about...

Regarding the cover, it's odd to think that a book's outer-design could affect the actual reading experience. But I think someone starting the book with the Italian image in his or her head would begin the story in a different frame of mind than with the American image. I don't know if one's better, but it's been interesting to ponder!

- Jay

Erik said...

Hey Jay,

LOVE the Italian cover....that's awesome.

Now......tell me about your mother. :-)


Libby ♥ said...

The Italian cover kind of bothers me actually. It makes it seems as though 13 Reasons Why is some sort of demonic book, when in reality, it's a book about love and the difficulties of being a teenager. The book really touched me personally, because I had an ex boyfriend who did a similar thing to what Hannah did. But he wrote letters. Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the most difficult things to cope with, and I'm really glad you wrote this book.


Disco Mermaids said...

Thank you for being so open, Libby. And I'm kind of partial to the American cover for that very same reason.

But if the Italian publisher thinks more people over there will pick up the book with that cover, and then discover the true Hannah Baker, then great!

- Jay

kristieefreaked said...