I built an idea in my head of the hero I wanted to be, a grab bag of traits from heroes, villains and side characters. I did not have book role models, I had book blueprints.But there remained a huge gap between the person I wanted to be and the person who I was. This was because no matter how many book blueprints I had, as much as I wanted to make myself the hero of my own life, it didn’t matter as long as I kept telling the story wrong.Nowadays, as a storyteller, I know what the problem was. I had all the elements I needed to tell a good story. But I was telling it the wrong way, so I could never get to the ending I wanted.If you tell yourself you’re a winner, you know what kind of story you’re telling and you will march toward that... Likewise, if you tell yourself you’re a loser, you’ve made that your story and you will march toward that instead. The same setbacks could happen in the loser’s story as in the winner’s story, but the self-defined loser would let them be proof that they were never going to be anything.Here’s the story I was telling myself back when I was little edible child waiting to be carried away by hawks and making OCD rituals for herself: once upon a time, there was a girl who was afraid of everything. When I was 16, I realized that I knew what this story looked like and how it ended and it wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. If I wanted my ending to look different, I needed to change the kind of story I was telling about myself. I needed to shape my events into a different genre: once upon a time, there was a woman who was afraid of nothing. At age 16, I legally changed my name from my birthname — Heidi — to one I thought sounded like the hero I wanted to be: Maggie. And I vowed that I would never be afraid of anything ever again.Did it work? No, of course not. Not right away. But it became a mission statement, my hero’s journey.
Maggie Stiefvater