An Open Letter To John Green
Julie is currently studying s Bachelor of Arts (Professional and…
Dear John Green,
You are a brilliant writer, and you have a beautiful way with words. I’m a massive fan of your books.
Thank you for teaching me:
1. The importance of characters with emotional depth
After reading Looking For Alaska for the first time, I thought ‘I want to make people feel as hurt as I felt after finishing that book.’ When I told my children’s literature tutor this, she said it was because I was invested in the characters that I felt their pain and it’s great writing because I thought of them as a real person, not just a character. She stated my thoughts so eloquently.
It’s so important for readers to connect not only with the main character but with the supporting characters too because when something happy or tragic happens to them, we want to be able to root for them and cry for them. As readers, we want to forget that we’re reading a book, we want to feel like we’re living the story. You do that perfectly with your books as all of your characters are so, so real.
2. To take the risk
Like how Miles decides to go to boarding school because he’s looking for an adventure in Looking For Alaska or Quentin goes on a road trip to find Margo in Paper Town, thank you for teaching me to take the risk.
I can relate to Miles, being shy and awkward, wanting to do something fun but scared of the consequences. Thank you for helping me slowly come out of my shell and take risks such as changing my course major, going to a literary speed dating event, and making new friends. I learnt that taking the risk will lead to me having a great story to tell and developing as a person.
There are still times where I decide to play it safe, but I’m slowly learning to take more risks because of you.
3. How to appreciate great writing
You’ve written some really beautiful quotes that have helped me to appreciate great writing. My copies of your books have sticky tabs on practically every single page as I love your philosophical and emotional explorations. I love how you put my thoughts and feelings into words and allow me to explore new ones.
You’ve made me admire and appreciate quotes. Now I look for quotes everywhere, such as in other novels, assigned readings, and TV shows. I keep track of these quotes in a word document.
Because of you, I’ve become a better writer. I’ve created my own quotes to weave into my stories, and I only hope they can be half as memorable and powerful as yours.
4. To learn to write for fun again
After the success of The Fault in Our Stars and the movie adaptation, you experienced writer’s block and felt the pressure to write another bestseller. You worked through that writer’s block by learning how to write for fun again.
Sometimes my perfectionism bogs me down in my writing, and I worry about what other people will think. You reminded me to stop writing for other people and to write for myself because it’s when I enjoy what I write, others just might enjoy it too. If they don’t, it’s okay, because I still have something I’m proud of. You reminded me of why I began writing in the first place.
Thank you for all you have taught me, and all you will continue to teach me. I hope you keep writing!
Are you a fan of John Green? What’s your favourite book of his (if you can pick just one)? What have you learnt from him? Who’s your favourite author?
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Julie is currently studying s Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) at Deakin University in Australia. She's a hardcover book and journal collector, she owns way too many planners, and she keeps telling herself that one day she will go to Paris.