There are two movies that I can pop in at anytime and my four year old will jump for joy, curl up on the couch, and watch from beginning to end. One of them is Jurassic World (I know, right? How? Why? What? Believe me, I’ve asked all the questions dozens of times) and the second one is Secretariat. Why this magical little story of how an unwanted colt, won by the mere flip of a coin toss, became the greatest horse racer this country, heck this world, has ever known has captured her so much, I’ll never know. I guess maybe it’s the horses, she just absolutely loves shouting for “Big Red”.
But back to my point. The other night while I sat on the couch with her watching it, I started wondering if Secretariat had had a different owner, a different trainer, and a different jockey would he have done what he did?
While I’d like to believe the answer to all three of those is yes, I can’t help but think maybe his career would have been different. Surely, he had the drive to be an amazing race horse. He was who he was character and built wise. His mind and body would have been the same no matter who owned him. But would he have broken those records? It’s no secret that most race horses are rested in between races, but it’s also no secret that Lucien Laurin didn’t rest him before the Belmont. Instead, he pushed him, he ran him hard everyday, and he built up that huge engine of a heart, which they determined was the cause of him “moving like a tremendous machine!” If they hadn’t worked him so hard, would he have been able to run as he did?
Yes, indeed, I have to wonder.
And if I’m wondering about a simple thing like the ownership of a horse and the results of a race decades ago (which it pains me to say considering he won only five years before I was born . . . ugh, decades, ugh, I’m decades old . . . nearly four to be exact. Bleh!) anyway, you can bet I’m wondering these same “would and what if” questions about the novels we write.
Would Harry Potter be Harry Potter without JK Rowling? Would Twilight have been Twilight without Stephanie Meyer? Would Game of Thrones be Game of Thrones without George RR Martin? Would Divergent have been Divergent without Veronica Roth? Would The Hunger Games have been The Hunger Games without Suzanne Collins? You can see where I’m going with this . . .
Sure other authors could have created all those same worlds and characters as the above authors, but would they have had the imagination to turn them into the successes they were? Would they have been able to create the utter transformation that happened not only in the literary world, but in the readers lives?
Honestly, for me, personally, I don’t believe that someone else could have done it. We are meant for the things we get in life. We are meant for the spouses we find, we are meant for the children we have, and, as writers, we are meant for the stories we create. And we write them like no one else could.
Perhaps it’s the romantic writer in me to think of fate or perhaps it’s the Christian in me to think that God had planned certain things for me, including the stories that come to my mind.
I know that there are people in this world who would agree with me, but I also know there are people who wouldn’t. And that’s fine. To each their own. Whether you believe in fate or plans, or you just believe that things just happen, the really only important thing is we embrace it.
Don’t let others tear them apart and don’t let reviewers make you feel like you did them wrong or not good enough. Instead, write the stories from your heart and mind. Write them as well as you can, and believe not only in them, but in yourself that they are how they are supposed to be.
Write what no body else wanted and write it for you.