The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A Review

I’d seen the movie once before, thought it was pretty good, so I knew I’d like the book. About a year had passed by the time I got around to reading it, so it still felt like a new experience. Though the book was written entirely in letter form, the movie did a fantastic job of translating the tone, and the casting was perfect, but this isn’t a movie review; this is a book review, and with that I shall begin.

The book was so fantastic that I almost believe that God prevented my professor’s slides from working so that I would have time to finish the last ten pages.

It goes something like this.

This kid by the name of Charlie writes these letters, but he never reveals to whom they are addressed. In these letters, he tells the story of his freshman year of high school and the psychological issues with which he struggles. His two friends, Sam and Patrick, along with a teacher, Bill, support him throughout the year and bring him to realize his true potential.

The book’s title, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, is both serious and facetious all in one, but for you to understand how this can be true, I must first explain what it means to be a wallflower.

A wallflower is someone on whom life is lived. You don’t make things happen to you, you let them.

Charlie unconsciously adopted this lifestyle as he grew up. Problems with his aunt elevated this behavior and traumatized him till he was no longer able to function.

At which point he got help, first in the form of psychologists, then friends, and then both. Though his time in the hospital allowed him to recuperate, it was Sam’s message that really prompted his maturation.

She told him that he was passive, and that if he wanted to fully experience life, he needed to be active. But she not only told him, she showed him. She showed him by running through the grass at the golf course, by standing up in the truck, feeling the wind on her face as she went through the tunnel. Ultimately, by being infinite.

It’s like he hears it, over and over Charlie hears what she is saying, and he tastes the truth here and there, but he doesn’t understand it until the very end.

And then, in the back of a truck, he learns what it is to live.

To live doesn’t mean doing everything he does in the book: going to parties, getting high or drunk, being with some girl, going to the Rocky Horror Picture show, or being there for your friends, as he believes he is; his friends’ activities aren’t what will fill his life.

Instead, what matters is taking the opportunities presented to you and running with them, not holding back simply because it’s easier. Sam’s message is a message that sparks war within each of us, even if it’s not to the degree that Charlie experiences.

Overall, Perks of Being A Wallflower is a wonderful book that uses a teenager’s issues to expose our own, and it teaches us, without us knowing it, how we should fix it:

Participate.

And it leaves us with one last question:

Are you a wallflower?

(P.S. this book is not advised for young readers)

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From Editing to Publishing: A Plan for My First Novel

I am still editing. And editing. And editing. For it is said that,

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I have even edited the title of my first book, renaming it as Believe them Inevitable. The previous title, Prophesies Unspoken, definitely applied, but like all first drafts, it just wasn’t good enough and had to go.

While revising the title takes hours, the book itself takes weeks. Months. I’m about halfway through the first edit. The process has been slower than I had hoped, due to unavoidable circumstances, school naturally being one of them, but also a sickness which put me out for a week, immediately followed by spring break.

So, I am finally getting back at it, and I am excited for where it’s going. I know it has a long way to go but my hope is to try and get it published over the summer, which will be an immense project in and of itself. Though I have not ruled out self-publishing, my first choice would be to publish through a literary agent.

A year ago, I had no idea what it took to get published. Now that I have a better understanding on the subject, I have discovered that it’s just as much work as I thought it would be. I can try and publish an ebook or self-publish, but if I want to go through a publishing house, then I have to get an agent most likely, and that’s difficult in and of itself.

As I am new to the publishing world, throughout this entire process, I have been consulting many resources, but most of my information comes from the 2015 Writer’s Market. In this book, all of those involved in getting a book to readers–from the writing, to the printing–divulge the secrets of the trade. They provide detailed infomation on topics ranging from social media, to literary magazines, to publishing companies. I also consult the Writer’s Digest for similar information, particularly the actual editing process.

Though I know that to me, it will never feel polished, ready. It will never be worthy, but it will have to be.

I yearn for the time when it has to be. I’m anxious to see it done, I have spent hours discussing possible book covers with my friend who doubles as an artist. She has accepted the responsibility of makin’ it look real purty. I know she will do it justice. No pressure to that friend, if you’re reading this.

Honestly, I simply can’t wait to see it done, and I’m determind that none of my previous doubts will get to me.

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As a side note, in recent weeks, I have also been working on another short story and another book, whose titles will be revealed later. My goal is to publish my short stories in literary magazines, so I hope it works out, and if it does, I will be sure to let you all know! I also have a plan for a sequel to Believe them Inevitable.

Here Comes the Part Where…

I doubt. I think it’s partially just because I’m bumbed at the moment, but it’s also partially because I think I might be right to doubt.

I mean, so I’ve written a book, right? Now, I’m in the process of editing that book, and I’m aware that it is the most grueling part of the process. I’m also aware that doubt is natural, but what if the doubt is there for a reason? What if it’s your gut telling you something? Now, in my case, I don’t think it’s telling me to stop writing. I still love writing. No, it’s not that. However, I am worried that my first book sucks.

I feel like a fish staring down a hook, weighing the pros and cons of going after the food. The food appears to be tasty, but what results are in store? Eventually, the fish takes the bait–it has faith that the reward is worth the risk–and then it finds out that it wasn’t. Will I do the same? Will I have that faith? Granted, the hook that tempts me does not promise the same unavoidable doom that awaits the fish, but the fish doesn’t know his fate, and neither do I.

I’m sure everyone worries that their art sucks, and that I need to push on through, but the problem is, I think it sort of might suck, and that I might have to change some stuff, but at the same time, I don’t want to go through all the effort of changing it, and then it have been fine the way it was.

I also don’t want to spend so much time editing it, and then it be all in vain, because it’ll be so bad that no one, not even me or my family or my best friends, will want to read it.

However much I’m doubting, I’m not going to stop, because I know that quitting will get me nowhere. Plus, what if it is good? It feels like there’s a small chance of that, but it’s not impossible. So, I will keep editing, and if it sucks, then it sucks, but I will have completed my first book, and I can learn from it and move on. I already have learned so much from it, which is partly why I look back and question it.

Writing is a never ending process of improvement upon poor or mediocre work, and I do like that about it, but it can make it painful to look back on previous work.

(This isn’t what I wanted the blog to be about, but I think it’s an important part of my writing journey, and as I do process by writing, it helped me immensely.)

My Addiction

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It’s become a problem. I always know why I start it, but it still keeps happening. It’s gotten worse, too. I’d rather do it than go to class. I’d rather do it sometimes than hang out with people. It’s just become that important in my life.

Every time I sit down and get ready to do it, I know I am feeding my addiction, but I am and will always be okay with that.

I sit down at the chair and empty all of my thoughts out. Every idea expelled is like a breath released: freeing. These ideas expound upon themselves, whirling me up into a dream-like state, where adventures no longer surround me, but become me. Trekking through these escapades, my deepest and darkest secrets are revealed, as they sneak out of my unconscious and into my realm of perception, to serve as my motivation–my purpose. That’s why I do it.

That’s why I write, and that’s why I will never stop waking up in the middle of the night to write down a thought, or spending hours at my computer to expand upon those ideas.

It’s worse now than ever: my addiction to writing. As I revise my first book, or even as I write my second, people find themselves pulling me out of the worlds in which I have engrossed myself, and I leave, unwilling to part with my characters, my story.

I think it’s a good thing: my addiction.

It’s helping me get through what others have called (and I agree with them on this) the most arduous part of writing: revision.

It is EXTREMELY intimidating to sit down in front of ninety-thousand words and tell yourself that you’re going to make each and every one of them count, and not only count, but meld together into a seamless flow that moves their readers like no other.

The only solution is to plunge headfirst into a dark, mysterious pool, and become a conjoined–reader and writer–in order to expel the fear and gain sight of the goal. So, that’s what I do. I make the dive every time I get the chance, and I’m about a third the way done with my first revision of the book with the working title of Prophecies Unspoken.

I am going to go through two more revisions, during which I will have my first readers, hopefully one person who writes and one person who just reads, as both perspectives are important.

I will do my best to make to make it good, and I feel like  a second-grader saying that, but it’s how I feel.

‘Till next time.

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P. S. I can pull myself away if I need to. No one freak out on me here. It’s a metaphor.