Good Story or Pain Release?

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My latest screenplay is about a mixed race girl who is separated from her brother by a stepmother who can't see past her own racial bias. While I didn't dwell too much on my inspiration for the story, the core is autobiographical. I have a that brother I have not seen since he was four years old.

The similarity ends there.

An old post by Jennifer Weiner has me wondering about my motives for writing this most recent screenplay. Weiner says publishers have a running gag about what sells and the joke says that all they gotta do is pick out an unhappy child and come back 20 years later and ask "where's the book?". She discusses in this article how pained childhoods, troubled love lifes, agents, discipline, employment and education affect the life of the writer. Then she says what we already know. A writer must write the story in his head, not what he thinks will sell.

Everything we say, everything we do, and everything we think is a product of accumulated knowledge which is formed, in part, by personal experience. That means authors leave their DNA in all of their stories one way or another, do they not? So, I don't think it matters whether I wrote this most recent story because I wanted to take a childhood lump of clay and sculpt it into a gleaming porcelain teapot as long as (1) it's the story in my head and (2) it's a damned good story.

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