Cristina Gavrea, IX E
What is a self-discovery book?
Self-discovery is one of the thematic niches in literature. These books mostly focus on a protagonist that goes through a slight change in the story and by the end they reconcile their crises and develop as a person.
Some believe that these books can be predictable and boring, but others appreciate these sorts of books because of what the protagonist goes through. Let's name this protagonist we are comparing to, Joe.
I like to draw a parallel between this genre and the book I wrote during the summer break. My book focuses on a slightly depressed person who wants to take care of a garden that reflects his hopes and mental health. His little friend who is his inner child keeps bombarding him to try and take it slow.
This is the introduction. A parallel to the real world that would try and kickstart the adventure. One of the things that I realised is that it gives me a sense of relatability. You can have a grasp of what Joe is feeling by “cutting” something from the real world and transplanting it in the pages of the book.
One day Joe finds something that would start the journey into self-discovery. In my book, it is a map that was labelled “map of self-discovery”. Both my protagonist and Joe prepare for the journey. My protagonist doesn't have a name, I wanted to write it in 1st person specifically so that the reader could be the one suffering the actions first-hand. Hence, my protagonist can be anyone as long as you have imagination.
Here is what I think people don't realise. Remember the quote “don't judge a book by its cover”? Every person that I've met who probably checked my book told me that its first chapters are just too boring. That's why youngsters drop these books so fast. That's why people don't give it so much credit. Its first chapters are boring to us because we live these boring lives.
But besides the feedback “atrocities” I've heard as a young author, I can sort of agree that the first chapters are boring because I had no idea what to write, no grand adventure, no meeting weird people and creatures to retell.
I don't remember reading books of this type. I only saw cartoons that would always “squeeze” the genre and then throw it in the trash like a super sun-dried date.
For the people who like this sort of genre. They always pointed out that they enjoy what's in the middle of it. Some authors really pull it off to sort of show what the main character goes through. Another thing I also found out is that they always pair the main character Joe with someone. It doesn't matter what it could be, their pet dog, their best friend, their girlfriend or whatever could affect the narrative. In my book, you are paired with your inner child who always insists on taking care of yourself and expects a lot from you so you won't end up killing yourself.
The middle part can be anything you want to fill in. In my book, it's a journey. You and your inner child pack up to go on an adventure through different ecosystems. From a blue forest where you meet a shepherd who herds CATterpilars(that's literally how they are written) and a useless crow that only talks in rhymes and obeys you if you solve its riddle. To the rocky Alps where there are pockets of Ruby water. And an unforgiving desert where you meet an Arab who looks over an oasis filled with flamingos.
By the end of any self-discovery book. The protagonist Joe returns back to his old life, having learned a lesson. In my book, you return back to your home and realise that your garden is filled to the brim with bushes and vines of copper roses.
Some books like to insert an epilogue to sort of narrate what happened after the book has ended. And I did add one too. In the end, your inner child grew older, as you became more mature. And wants to explore something beyond the desert and find people to integrate him.
As someone who wrote this “sort” of book, I actually enjoyed it. I'm not kidding. I actually like writing character growth by making them rediscover their true meaning. I love people who change over time. And all the people who bothered reading the entire book actually loved my pair of protagonists. A depressed and hopeless person with their pushy yet understanding inner child.
So please take a deeper look into these sorts of books. You are missing out on what they can hide. It's what's in the middle of the book that makes it stand out from the others