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A Tale Of Four Teachers

Hades blue Isolde
So, I’m going to apologize in advance for how long this post is. But it’s something I need to get off my chest.

~~

Flashback to October 2007. I’m on fall break of my senior year of college, and meeting with the Director of a Very Prestigious Creative Writing MFA Program. As a Creative Writing major with graduation fast-approaching, my post-college options are limited if I want to write full-time. I can either a) go to an MFA program or b) be unemployed. Excellent.

I walked into that interview with a fair amount of confidence. I didn’t know anyone my age who had completed a novel, let alone thought about things like querying agents, and I was the best writer in my creative writing classes (pardon the douchebaggery). So, impressing the Director of this Very Prestigious MFA Program wouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong.

Even though our meeting lasted about 30 minutes, I knew within the first two minutes that there was no chance in Hell I was attending that program. Or any MFA program, for that matter. Because when the director asked me: “What do you write?” and I said: “Fantasy novels,” she CRINGED.

No joke. She cringed. Like, her face contorted as if she was going to puke all over me. I have no idea how I made it through that meeting without punching her in the head.

There’s a point to this story, of course. And no, it’s not that if you insult Fantasy, I’ll mess you up. It’s about teachers—professors, whatever. It’s about what happens when the people who are entrusted with broadening your mind and bolstering your confidence either rise to the occasion or fail miserably.

The only reason I started writing was because of my seventh grade teacher. During my parent-teacher conference, my teacher, Stan (yes, we called our teachers by their first names—it’s part of attending a crunchy-granola middle school) commented on how I didn’t read. Somehow, I’d become more interested in nail polish and boys, and stopped reading. He was concerned, and told my parents to bring me to the bookstore and let me choose some books for myself.

I walked out of the store that day with SABRIEL by Garth Nix, THE HERO AND THE CROWN by Robin McKinley, and WIT’CH FIRE by James Clemens. If you follow this blog at all, you already know what an impact those books had on me. They made me want to start writing—they made me adore reading again, and love fantasy.

I didn’t attempt to write until we had creative writing class, when we were essentially thrown into the computer lab and told to write whatever we wanted. I’m pretty sure what I wrote was a rip-off of SABRIEL, but I loved it. But I didn’t think anything of it until Stan read my work and told me it was good. Surprisingly good. And he told me to write more.

So I did. I kinda sucked at school (I was always in the ‘slow learners’ math class), but I knew I rocked the hell outta writing. I began writing outside of class--I wrote whenever I had a spare minute. All from that little bit of praise he gave me.

Flash forward six years. I’m a senior in high school (attending a very prestigious Upper East Side school), and I’ve been writing QUEEN OF GLASS for two years. I call myself a writer. I define myself by the books I read and write. I write every day, I send my chapters to friends, I post my work on FictionPress and have, to my surprise, a following. And then I enrolled in a creative writing elective.

My teacher—let’s call her Ms. Edwards—was the polar opposite of Stan. The first day of class, she told us how unlikely it is that we’d ever get published. She complained about how some authors get five and six-figure advances, while she barely got any money for her book. She regaled us with tales of selling copies of her book out of the trunk of her car.

Well, I’d had some shitty teachers before at my Fancy Pants High School, so I wasn’t bothered too much by her pep talk. I even wrote this in my journal on the first day of class: “Creative writing. Okay, Edwards is insane. Like, actually mentally insane. She speaks all crazy and scares me, but it's FUN.” So, I kinda enjoyed creative writing class. Until it was my turn to have my work read.

I submitted what would later become the fist chapter of HADES—a young adult fantasy novel set in an ancient, alternate Greece. I knew it was awesome. While my classmates wrote about doing lines of cocaine in the school bathroom, I imagined an ancient world where the gods were elected to their positions. I was so, so excited to share the chapter with my classmates.

Class rolled around, and before anyone commented on my piece, Ms. Edwards started ranting. Not about my chapter, but about the fantasy genre. How it isn’t a real genre. How it’s all the same, unoriginal story, etc. When I got home that night, I wrote this delightful gem about the experience:

I'm sorry if Ms. Edwards has no success in HER writing career, but Jesus, she could at least have had the decency to be NICE when saying her criticism. What a crazy bitch. It's not my fault her writing is so weird and random that no one likes it except 0.000000000000000000000001 percent of the population! What an awful, crazy (she should be locked up) bitch of a woman. I hope she's squished to death by a box filled with fantasy books.
 
Wasn’t I an absolute delight in high school?

But anyway, that experience with Ms. Edwards was so unpleasant that I swore off creative writing classes forever. Forever and ever. I spent two years in college as a Comparative Literature major, rather than endure another creative writing class. But then I somehow had a change of heart (AKA I found out Comp Lit majors had to take a year of foreign language) and switched to a Creative Writing major.

Turns out, my college creative writing classes were harmless. Kind of a joke, really. But my renewed faith in professors/teachers didn’t occur until I met Professor Janelle Schwartz, who taught comparative literature. Janelle was one of those teachers who asked us to call her by her first name—she wore combat boots to class and sat atop her desk when giving lectures. She also somehow managed to squeeze out of me that I wrote fantasy novels, a secret I kept close-guarded from my professors for fear of another Ms. Edwards freakfest.

When sophomore year ended, she offered to meet with me once a week next term (my junior year) to work on my query letter and help edit QUEEN OF GLASS. I was terrified, but when fall semester rolled around, I found myself in her office. A lot of really crappy stuff happened to me (socially) that year, and Janelle’s office became my safe haven. My meetings with her became the highlight of my week.

And when she read QUEEN OF GLASS and told me it was good—really, really good—and that I would (she had no doubt) be published some day, I believed her. I believed her enough to buy copies of JEFF HERMAN’S GUIDE and WRITER’S MARKET and research agents. I believed her so much that she was one of the first people I emailed when I signed with my agent—and one of the first I emailed after I received my book deal.

I don’t know what would have happened if Stan hadn’t told me that day in 1998 that I was good at writing. I don’t know what would have happened if Janelle hadn’t offered to help me get started with querying. I don’t know what would have happened if they’d acted like Ms. Edwards or Ms. Director HoityToityMFA and trashed the genre I loved. But I just want to say thank you.

Thank you to the teachers who nurture rather than tear down. Thank you to the professors who take time out of their schedules to work on the query letters of clueless students. Thank you for noticing when we stop reading, or when we have a talent for writing, or when we need that push out the door. We might never say it, and we might never see you again, but you should know that you make all the difference.

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aekubo
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Some of your early creative writing teachers and the person from the creative writing program sound like douchebags. >_>

There is a lot that can be learned from fantasy... and science fiction, and even romance.

Fantasy isn`t the only genre that gets bashed. Romance is also looked down on, even though high sales figures should suggest otherwise!

I think all the teachers who bashed fantasy lack imagination or something. ^^
sjmaas
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah--being a fantasy AND a young adult writer gets me a lot of raised eyebrows.

I think both genres are slowly gaining more respect (this article in the nytimes was AWESOME: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/books/review/Paul-t.html?_r=2&emc=eta1), but there' definitely still a stigma attached to writing young adult/fantasy.
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sydneygirl90
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
That is such a beautiful, honest insight. I really appreciate good, caring teachers who don't tell you that you'll never succeed, but instead, make sure that they've done their best to help you succeed. Thank you for sharing this with us. :) <3
sjmaas
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :) I was really afraid that this post would put everyone to sleep, lol. Or that people just wouldn't read it.

I'm really glad that I'm not alone in appreciating those special teachers who go beyond the call of duty--who treat their students like human beings, and who notice the students who never speak in class (I was very quiet in class until I got to college, when I somehow learned how to stop being afraid of voicing my opinions).
mary_pi
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
We ALL have to thank Stan and Janelle, because those are the professors that are worth having. Those who push you more each day to surpass yourself, to be better. Not to crush your dreams... They usually do that because they feel so bad about themselves, about not being able to be what they want to be and watch other triumph while they stay in the same place. Losers and douchebags.
sjmaas
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yep! I realized with "Ms. Edwards" (lol, I told my mom I was writing this post and she was like: "DO NOT USE THAT WOMAN'S REAL NAME!!!") that she was just a bitter, nasty person whose failure as a writer had made her hate any student that showed promise. It's pathetic, really--and a bit sad. And the Director of that MFA program was just an arrogant douche. :P
annastan
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
Such a great post! I think in the children's lit world we manage to avoid some of the snobbery that exists in the adult lit world, but luckily it's not everyone and there are some great people to counteract the bad. And I just have to say that not all MFA programs are like that! :-)
sjmaas
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!

lol, my problem when looking for MFA programs was that my husband (then-boyfriend) was living in Los Angeles, and I wanted to attend a school within an hour or two of LA. So my options were pretty limited. And it didn't help that I was thinking of applying to MFAs just to avoid getting a "real" job and appease my parents.

And yeah--the YA/MG community is SO welcoming and wonderful!! I love that it's gaining respect and recognition in the "adult" world!! :)
yumejiniwa
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
I know *exactly* what you mean. I've been really, really blessed to have amazing creative writing teachers in high school and then at college who are supportive and encouraging. I remember sitting in the office of my creative writing professor last semester saying: you have no idea how scared I am to be work shopped because people who take creative writing classes hate fantasy! She was the sweetest most encouraging woman I've ever met and that spilled over into her classroom and affected all of her students! I don't think I'd have the confidence that I do in workshopping my work now if it weren't for her. :)
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
I'm SO glad that you have such a wonderful CW professor. They really do make all the difference, don't they?
animewave
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this post :) Those teachers that encourage you are really important (I can't believe you had such a crazy teacher at one point.) I feel really lucky to have had encouraging English teachers. Gahh people underestimate the power of fantasy, if it weren't for those books, I don't think I would of fallen in love with reading/writing as fast.
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, if I had only read the books I was forced to read for class, I never would have fallen in love with reading and writing. The fantasy books I read outside of class awoke my imagination.

It's crazy that the good teachers don't get the respect (and salary) that they deserve.
domynoe
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
I haven't read the full post yet, but I was rejected by no less than THREE MFA programs because of the fantasy thing, I had teachers in my under grad work who made that same face when I brought up fantasy in my creative writing classes—even had one teacher say he wouldn't give anyone who wrote SFF an A in the class (funny, I got one anyway).

I eventually want to do this MFA program:

http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction/index.cfm

Just have huge timing issues right now. lol
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
That is NUTS about your teachers. Shame on them. Seriously, shame on them.

You should also look into the Odyssey workshop: http://www.sff.net/odyssey/index.htp

I recommended it to a friend, and she attended and had a BLAST. She learned a lot about writing fantasy and the industry. :)
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angelwingsbaka
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
"I hope she's squished to death by a box filled with fantasy books."

Quote of the day! :P
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
haha, I was such an asshole in high school.
http://www.google.com/profiles/SinghR.21
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Can’t believe you started writing QoG in high school! I guess it really has been an awfully long time since I started reading the book. I’ve forgotten so many details, but that’ll make my second reading experience that much more novel and exciting when your book finally comes out.

Your journal entry cracked me up. I used to write entries like that in high school when I was pissed off too. ‘Ms. Edwards’ just sounds awful! I don’t understand people’s prejudice against the fantasy genre. It’s one of the most imaginative and FUN genres out there – and reading is supposed to be FUN! Also, two words – Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling’s salary speaks for itself.
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
lol, yeah! I began writing QOG when I was sixteen--in 2002. Nuts, right? It feels like yesterday...and forever ago. I'm SO excited for you guys to read the new & improved/revamped version...lots of things have changed from the original, but all for the better! :)

And lol, I have a treasure trove of rants about "Ms. Edwards" in my journal. I laughed SO hard when I read them today!
wonderland0926
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
I completely agree with you on the impact of some teachers. I had a couple teachers in high school and one in college who urged me and urged me to keep reading and writing. And that meant the world to me. But I haven't had a good writing teacher since and I ended up switching majors because I couldn't find the enthusiasm to write anymore. So, your post hit close to home for me. I'm glad you had someone who pushed you to keep doing what you love and what defines you.

-Kelly
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, the only reason why I walked out that meeting with the MFA Director and kept writing was because Janelle had given me SO much confidence that I knew I didn't need to spend $$$$ on an MFA program in order to get published.

Ultimately, though, you can have all the teachers in the world praise you, but YOU have to believe in yourself, too. :) Keep reading and writing!!!
lalaith7
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
I have always thought the fantasy portion of YA is some of the strongest work in the genre, so it's weird for me to hear all this hate towards it, on the other hand, I don't hang out with a lot of people IRL who talk about the industry or whatever.

Someone above mentioned J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter as examples of successful Sci-Fi but I would suggest Neil Gaiman as perhaps a better example, he writes basically everything (MG, comics, Dr. Who scripts, adult novels, & etc.) and is well regarded for many reasons. I'm pretty sure all of his work falls somehow into sci-fi/fantasy.
lalaith7
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Also can Hades please be published, like, now? I was thinking about this today and I really really want to read it based on the teasers you've given us.
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need_tea
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
I absolutely love this post! It reminds me of my days. I loved to read ever since I was a kid and somehow when I was bored (one of my now ex-friends) got me hooked on writing. I did it on the side for fun and didn't really think much of it but when I got into AP Lit, my love for English plummeted like a rock.

My teacher was crazy. She made us analyze things to death (and things I think weren't even there!) and had us do insane tests, and uberly long essays. All that love for the subject crashed and burned, she actually made me dislike writing for a long time. I didn't even attempt to write anything creatively.

But she gave us an alternative assignment near the class. Write a creative story on how you think things would play out if you were in the same situation with your classmates. And I went insane! We were only supposed to do about five pages max I think but I think I must've written fifteen or twenty.

I was lit on fire and I was overjoyed when I got top marks on it. Later on after I graduated I visited her and she said I should take up writing because I was really good at it. Man, that was one of my proudest moments ever.

Thank goodness that in college while some of my professors didn't care for fantasy, they didn't shun it at all, and gave me helpful criticism. I was so happy when I got full marks for my stories when I turned them in.

I think that whenever I feel down, I use that as ammo to get back up.

In short: FANTASY ROCKS! HAVING AWESOME TEACHERS ROCK MORE! AND PLEASE GET HADES OUT PRONTO!
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Haha, I think my agent and I were thinking of subbing ACOTAR next, but maybe I'll convince her to read HADES, since it seems like there's some interest in it! :)

It's really interesting that your insane teacher turned out to be inspiring! I kinda want to send "Ms. Edwards" a copy of QOG with a nasty little note inside of it. But that would be spiteful and petty. :P

My creative writing professors in college weren't fantasy fans, but they didn't insult the genre--for which I was grateful. But when I said I wrote fantasy, there were always a few raised eyebrows in my classes.
cuentagirl
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I think this Ms. Edwards shouldn't be a teacher in the first place if she's going to put students down like that! >:O

I've been slammed down before by friends and teachers because of my ideas, or just for what I write. I once had an english teacher back in high school who complained about fantasy to other teachers. One time she caught me reading a novel by Tamora Pierce during a class break. When I told her it was fantasy, she frowned and walked back to her desk. She even went to my creative writing teacher one day (who was supportive) and said, in front of me, that some writers shouldn't waste their craft writing fantasy or anything not literary, that it's silly.

It was horrifying, although my creative writing teacher defended the genre - if it wasn't for her encouragement I would probably give up writing. I wrote a short story that I thought was terrible, but she returned it with a helpful critique and note pointing out why she thought it has potential. That was a huge push out the door for me.

Sorry if this comment was long. I agree with you 100%. ^^;;
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
I totally agree. Ms. Edwards should have been fired. I have no idea if she's still working at my high school, actually.

And jesus, that is HORRIBLE about your teacher going so far to put down the fantasy genre! And it's not like Tamora Pierce is rubbish--her novels are some of the finest in the industry. Hell, her novels have inspired SO many of this generation's writers!!

I'm grateful for people like your creative writing teacher--they're the people that make this world a better place.
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shveta_thakrar
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
I'm really, really glad you kept going. :)
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
:D

So am I!!! Screw the haters!
bee245
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
This is a really nice post. I'm glad you were swayed by these people. I wouldn't be friends with wonderful you otherwise :).
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Haha, I really think everything happens for a reason. FictionPress was another of the things that kept me writing/querying--it also brought me into contact with you...Not to mention, other people (AKA Mandy) who had a major role in my path to publication.
strawberrieq
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
that was reallly inspiring, i love it when teacvhers tell us to just for it


your stories are good, its been proven time and time again dfantasy are the higest fastest selling books in the world

think stepehanie meyer amnd jk rowling
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
Thanks!! :) Stephenie Meyer and JKR are part of the reason why writing fantasy has become acceptable these days.
camisado007
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
I'm glad you shared this insight into your path as a writer. The diary inserts were endearing and hilarious! And I love the little bit I have read from Hades!!!

I don't write but I totally get where you are coming from about the lack of respect for the fantasy genre. I never tell people I like to read fantasy or science fiction...it just automatically regulates you to a stereotype I'd rather not be associated with :)

Sabriel and The Hero and The Crown also shaped me into the person I am today. And I really think your books will one day do that for someone too.

Jess
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
Haha, reading through my high school journal was SO funny. I was utterly ridiculous. I should post some snippets at some point.

And I'm so glad you like HADES...I really hope it's published someday!

In college, I NEVER told my friends that I wrote fantasy novels. And when I finally worked up the nerve to say it, they didn't believe me! The fastest way to get a guy to run in the opposite direction is to say you write high fantasy. :P (though my hubby didn't mind <3 )
raecarson
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
Wonderful post!!

I took a creative writing class at Ohio State when I worked there. It was... interesting. I heard witty comments like, "I don't think you're writing science fiction. Really, it's dystopian." Or my favorite: I LOVE Harry Potter...blah, blah, blah about personal tastes...and I cannot abide fantasy!"

*eyeroll*

I haven't told my teacher from that class that I'm now a working writer. Somehow, I just don't care if he knows.
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Thank you!!!

lol, omg--I can't believe the people in your class said stuff like that! Haha, that Harry Potter line is awesome.

My college creative writing classes had SUCH a random assortment of people. Like, everyone from the jocks who wanted an "easy" A (not so easy, they soon discovered) to the Joyce wannabes to hermit kids who didn't say 3 words the entire semester. My main problem was that most of the people in my classes didn't care...like, they didn't care about their writing, or about getting published, or about seriously critiquing each other's work. So I'd show up to class with 2 pages of notes written for everyone and their stories covered in red ink, and then they'd hand me a one-paragraph handwritten "critique" of my story.

While my CW professors were fine/nice, I agree with you--I don't really care if they know that I'm a pubbed writer. I feel like it seems douchey/braggy if I email them out of the blue to let them know I got a book deal. Aside from the two awesome teachers mentioned in this post, I don't really care about the others.
halibaumstein.blogspot.com
Aug. 11th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
This is a great post! I've had similar bad experiences with teachers (though none as horrific as yours) - one creative writing professor did a double take and cried "NO!" when I told her I loved fantasy. She was a nice, encouraging prof otherwise, but it bummed me out that she didn't support my genre preference.

What I've found is that most people who hate on fantasy like this don't actually READ fantasy - they form opinions based on negative stereotypes. Fantasy (esp. Ella Enchanted and Tamora Pierce) was what made love to read and want to write as a child, just like you, so it really hurts to hear people put down a genre that shaped me so much as a person.

But it's great that at the end of the day, snobby teachers don't control our lives, and there are awesome people out there who will be 100% supportive, no matter what. Thanks for posting this!

sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Yeah--these days I have a zero tolerance policy when people start going off on how YA and fantasy aren't "real" genres. 95% of the books that shaped me as a person and a writer can be classified as Young Adult. I can't remember most of the "adult" books I was forced to read in school--but I still remember weeping when I read THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and cheering on Gryffindor in quidditch matches, and trembling in terror when I read SABRIEL.

At a time when I was leaning towards nail polish and boys, books like THE HERO AND THE CROWN made me remember what it truly meant to be a girl. They reminded me that I didn't need boys and nail polish to have a sense of worth--that the world was mine for the taking, and anything was possible. That's the magic of YA, I think--the gift of possibility.
parallax23
Aug. 11th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
I once ranted that fantasy writers always get the short end of the stick. The teasing, the casual 'grow up' and 'weirdo' tossed around, the back-handed compliments... But if you look at the major pop culture icons, a lot of the sci-fi/fantasy characters are the most recognizable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Geeks for the Win! ;D

sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
SF-F Geeks REPRESENT!!!!!

And holy crap--looking at that list of films just gave me the chills.
runsamrun
Aug. 11th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
Gah, this was so inspirational.
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
:) Thank you!
carmsc
Aug. 11th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
I totally know what you mean about teachers like that. I've had both types (both in English classes and in other classes) and I can only say that I'm glad you didn't listen to your evil teachers and that I hope my creative writing teacher next year isn't Mrs. Edwards!
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
Haha, I hope you don't wind up with someone like her, either!!! But if you do, I'm here for moral support, lol.
cactus_rs
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
and I was the best writer in my creative writing classes (pardon the douchebaggery)

Ahaha, I lol'd because it's true (and not at all douchebaggy). "If it's true, it ain't braggin'."
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
Haha, thank you! Our senior year thesis class was my favorite CW course at Hamilton...mostly because a bunch of us were writing fantasy stuff and Tina was pretty chill with the whole fantasy thing.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
GREAT POST
This is a great post about the gems of the population that are the better people. Everything you wrote about your crappy teachers back then sufficed the way I felt about them as I read your post. What horrible role models! Well, wonderful role models if we want to learn to do the opposite.

Fantasy and romance is a healthy genre. Fancies and sentiments are relevant parts of people's developments. Plus we can't always be working and we can't always be learning. People have to be amused. (taken practically straight out of Dickens' Hard Times)

You message applies not only to teachers, but to people who have friends and family members and coworkers who aspire to things that might not be of the same taste as our own, but we should never be putting down their beliefs.

-marvelosity @ twitter
sjmaas
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: GREAT POST
Yeah, "Ms. Edwards" definitely motivated me...in that I wanted to get published to spite her/prove her wrong, lol.

And you're so right--it's not our place to put someone down for their beliefs or aspirations. Life is too short to spend it tearing people down.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2010 08:15 am (UTC)
HEY
hey haha so i went online just so i could write you my comment (i dont really like writing things from my phone -- unless im willing to have callouses -- u know i like to write long, unfortunately!)

thank you for such a fun read! no it didnt send people to sleep, im glad i read it, it wasnt that long either! i think many people will have at least one teacher in their lives that stood out for them -- at least i would hope that is the case. i never was into the writing sphere, but i can recall a few teachers whom i will always remember because they impacted my life so much.. one being in fourth grade, my religious studies teacher.. i dunno she just made me want to be a good person.. haha she talked of just how to live life in a good way i dunno it really made me religious and just want to be a good person in general.

i had a math teacher who was also the dean of my year (i think it was my sophomore year) and i was slacking off school so much she went out of her way to get in touch with my parents and make sure im in the right path etcc.. i did well in my maths exam that year because of her. i always did well with my creative writing in high school.. even though i dont feel like it was even anything good.. in college i did a writing course, but it was such a turn off to writing because it wasnt FUN.

i know i have a great imagination but i feel a bit bummed i dont have the writing skills to match, so until now i dont really get my ideas into stories, i keep saying to myself, one day i'll get to it.. :P of course one day could never come. its ok in the meantime i have other stories and novels to keep me inspired!

im glad that those unhelpful teachers (im glad to say i didnt really have a teacher that bad in my school years) didnt get you down. its so important for teachers to nuture talent not snuff it out, as some bitter people could and would do.

to be honest i didnt even know fantasy genre was that looked down upon! and im sorry to hear that..im not a big fantasy reader myself.. but it doesnt mean i dont see worth in it, its just not my cup of tea basically. it takes incredible imagination to build a completely alien world and to be able to transport the reader there believably. you're right though now the genre has been more tolerated because of recent best sellers.

you've always recommended books to read but one u mentioned in this post made me think i should really give your book recommendations a try, the hero and the crown might help me out :))) so i will go to amazon/borders to check that out!

haha btw you were so funny in highschool!! haha gosh what a character :PP but probably nothing different to what many of us were like :D

..cont..
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
Re: HEY
ha! i knew it.. it didnt fit :(( how embarassing!! im so sorry for the spam!! :SS

here's the rest..

now about HADES, im sure that ACOTAR is a great series, but from the very little ive read ive always LOVED hades.. i dont know. just something about her is so great, plus the backdrop..u know i was even thinking of it just last night, i decided to watch percy jackson and the lightning thief, have u seen it? i liked it a lot it was nice but at one point i thought of your hades and just couldnt stop being so giddddy thinking, omg sarah just has the most fantastic idea to make her a girl ugh so incredible i cant wait to read it! hahaha yeapp i was like that for a few minutes. so its cool you mentioned it again, and reading other people's comments before me there are a lot of interest in her!! im soo glad..

i wish you'd let your agent read HADES and maybe try pitch that before ACOTAR.. and here's my reasoning (this is what i came online to write you!) ..Celaena ..is amazing, such a strong character and she is something the readers aspire to be, something to look up to and have as a hero.. but Hades.. like you said to me before she reflected a lot of ur own insecurities when u were writing it etcc..and how one of your friends who read it felt like it helped her.. I want that. hehe Hades, from the teaser i read.. she seems to be normal. someone unsure of their power or destiny, someone unsure of themself..and readers could relate and maybe even go on their own journey with Hades.. did i mention the kick as back drop of ancient greece and yummy gods?? i would wait forever just to read HADES until then i reaaaaaally cant wait :DD id probably be even more keen to read it that QoG only because I have tasted QoG and i believe in Celaena's greatness, but Hades I want to understand her and learn her story.. weeee haha

ok i so wrote too much. I believed in you ever since I read QoG on fp.. i still believe in your talent and in fact EVERYTHING you've always stood for to me, someone who shows the world that you can achieve your dreams if you work hard enough and believe in yourself and your dream long enough. i know one day all your novels will be published :)) haha you're such a great girl, im so proud and happy for you :PP lols.. *fangirl*

alright, im gonna go.. best regards, hope everything is well on your side.. ps i wont be in cali this sept.. but.. MAYBE in new york in nov-dec around thanksgiving. will let you know!!

goodnight to you! xo
Anna D
Re: HEY - andel87 - Aug. 11th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: HEY - sjmaas - Aug. 11th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: HEY - sjmaas - Aug. 11th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
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I'm Sarah J. Maas, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, Book 3, will be out in September 2014). The Assassin's Blade, a bind-up of all five TOG novellas is now available!

I'm represented by the awesome and lovely Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency. Starting in Spring 2015 - my new fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, will be published by Bloomsbury as well! Hooray!










For more information about me and my books, please visit my (very rarely updated) website: http://sarahjmaas.com/

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