Get Out Of The Way
By Nic Stone
I didn’t think I could write fiction.
“I’m not creative or imaginative enough,” I said. “To come up with a whole story? What would I even write about? There’s just no way.”
The truth is I was scared. People who looked like me didn’t populate bestseller or required reading lists. They weren’t even in the books I read. Not in a way I could identify with at least. I wasn’t an escaped slave or a person deemed stupid because I spoke broken English or a guy falsely accused of a horrible crime (and then killed for it).
I was a book-loving black girl with a thirst for adventure who loved to tromp through the woods. That girl didn’t exist in books. So I didn’t think she could.
And since the story I knew best was my own, but my own clearly wasn’t what anyone wanted to read, I didn’t think I could write fiction. I couldn’t imagine being a little white kid slaying a dragon and saving the world–so I wasn’t imaginative enough. I couldn’t create a world where people like me didn’t actually exist–so I wasn’t creative enough.
But then something happened: the more I read, the emptier I felt. I could no longer ignore the lack of people who looked and lived like ME in the stuff I was reading.
And there WAS a story building in my bones, itching to get out. About a brown girl saving the day. I tried to ignore it, but the plot points and dialogue kept coming and coming. The story wouldn’t leave me alone.
So I decided to give it a shot. Put words, ideas, mental images to paper. Turns out I’d been wrong about myself. I COULD write fiction. I WAS– AM–imaginative enough, creative enough.
I just needed to get out of my own way.
Maybe you do, too.
About Nic Stone
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.
Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.
Huge THANK YOU to Nic for getting this post in to us while on deadline! Your experience and encouragement to other writers is inspiring. We have all felt like we could not do something, when in actuality we can if we have more faith in ourselves.
As always, thank you to everyone who has participated in this feature! Your words and advice are always appreciated and we love you all for helping us.
We hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!