For those of you who don’t know, I am currently writing a novel called The Long Road Home (Spring 2016), about a young girl sent to a mental institution after trying to attempt suicide. The realization hit me the other day that this is the first Person vs Self book I’ve written since Before I Break, and that book wasn’t even entirely Person vs Self.
So what is a Person vs Self novel? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. If you don’t remember, there are different conflict types of conflict in literature. Some examples are Person vs Society, Person vs Nature, Person vs Man. All of these are different types of stories that help figure out what the conflict is in the story. The big situation that needs to be resolved (or, most of the time, should be) by the end of the book or story.
Person vs Self deals with a character whose main conflict is dealing with some internal conflict. I’ve seen a trend that often young adult novels that deal with mental illness are of Person vs Self conflict, something that’s never really occurred to me before.
I may be a bit biased, but it seems as though Person vs Self novels are often character-driven novels. This is not to say that a P vs S novel can’t be plot-driven, but it just seems as though with Person vs Self, your characters are running the story, especially your protagonist, as opposed to the plot. Character-driven stories mostly deal with your main character moving the story forward in some way by their actions.
Now, my paranormal young adult series, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles is not only plot-driven, but falls under either Person vs Person (or Persons) or even Person vs World (if that’s even a thing, because I doubt it is).
I am no literary expert, and I’m learning just as much as you. But you may be wondering why you just read all of this and what the point of this blog post actually is. In fact, I’m not even entirely sure where I was going with this post, other than to say that Person vs Self plots tend to be more character-central.
One thing that’s hard for me is writing a story where the main character is her own conflict. Questions constantly run through my head, such as Will people like her? Will people feel extremely depressed after reading this? Am I possibly making a mistake?
But I always have to remind myself that those things are not true. Yes, the book is sad, similar to the way that Before I Break ripped many peoples’ hearts out. One thing I know for sure is that this book, The Long Road Home, is going to change lives. It’s going to show people that they’re not alone, and that they’re not the only ones dealing with internal conflict. We all do at some point, although some are worse off than others.
Brooke is a character that is changing my life, and I hope she changes yours. When the book is finally out for the world to read, I hope that you have a better understanding of her struggles if you have not gone through them yourself. I hope that you read her story and that it changes your heart as much as she’s constantly changing mine.