Find Your Team and Get to Work: Let’s Write a Book Together!

After years of dreaming, months of planning, and days of anxiously trying to find the right words to articulate what I want to say, I have some big news to announce…

I’m writing a book! (Tentatively titled The Fan Mail Project)

I’ve known for a long time that one of the things I’ve wanted to accomplish more than anything else was to write a book about pop culture and fandom. But I struggled for a long time with the idea of what that book would look like. How could I take what I do here at NGN and turn it into something that would resonate with people enough to work as a book?

However, once I wrote my thank-you letter to Leslie Knope before the series finale of Parks and Recreation (which, in turn, made me think of the letter I wrote to Princess Leia back during NGN’s earliest days), I knew with total certainty what I was going to do: I was going to write thank-you letters to the fictional women who’ve inspired me through the years—from my childhood and teenage years through the present. I would write about the way Sydney Bristow helped me hold on to my sense of self during my challenging high school years; the way Kate Beckett helped me find the strength to accept my flaws as a young woman; and the way Emma Swan continues to teach me to believe in myself and in my ability to be happy.

But my letters would only tell one story, and doesn’t the beauty of what we experience here at NGN come from the way we all share our stories with one another when we talk about the characters who inspire and move us? NGN isn’t just a shout into the void; it’s become a place of lively, loving, and sincere conversation about the fictional characters and stories we love.

As my personal hero Leslie Knope once stated, “No one achieves anything alone.” So let’s do this together, friends. It’s my hope that this book won’t just be filled with my letters of love and thanks to the female characters who’ve shaped my life; it will be filled with letters from many fangirls (and fanboys if you want to get in on the fun, too, guys).

My goal with this book is to show the positive impact female representation in the media can have on the lives of real women and men around the world. I want to show people that it’s not “weird” or “unhealthy” to connect with the journeys of fictional characters; it’s a way for us to see reflections of our strengths and flaws in the media we consume and to grow as people by watching the growth of characters we relate to. I want to shine a light on the ways the media can change lives for the better through sharing my story and the stories of others who grew into stronger, better people because they were inspired by female characters of all kinds in all kinds of media. I want to show the world how important it is to respect the idea that loving a fictional character has helped so many of us learn to love ourselves for exactly who we are, and that’s why diverse female representation in the media matters.

Does this sound like something you might want to be a part of? Awesome! How can you contribute to this project? It’s easy! Write a thank-you note or letter to a female character who has inspired you, sharing why they’ve made such an impact on your life. The letter can be a paragraph or 5 pages or something in between; write whatever you feel comfortable sharing. And if there’s more than one character you want to write about, you can write as many letters as you’d like. The more letters I have when I’m putting this book together, the better it will be.

Letters can be sent to nerdygirlnotes@gmail.com, and I’ll start accepting them whenever you have them written.

Update: If you’re still interested in submitting a letter, please email me at the address above. I’m still taking submissions on a case-by-case basis, and I’m always happy to get more letters for the book! 

The rules for submitting letters are few and simple:
• You can sign your letter with as much detail as you feel comfortable sharing. At the most: name, age, and city. But you can share just your name, initials, or even submit anonymously if that makes you more comfortable.
• As I stated, there’s no set length for letters. They can be as short or as long as you feel you need.
• Female characters from any and all forms of media (books, movies, TV shows, plays/musicals, comics, etc.) can be the focus of letters. Just remember, letters should be mainly about the characters—not the actors who brought them to life.
• Please refrain from using offensive language in your letters.
• Please don’t bash other characters in your letters in as you talk about the characters you love. This is a project based on the idea of respecting people’s love for the characters who matter to them, and a character you use inflammatory language to tear down might be one who inspired someone else.
• After I receive the letters, I might edit them slightly for spelling and grammar, but I will never edit them for content.
• I will use all the letters I receive as long as they are germane to the topic of this project and follow the above rules. As I said previously, people are free to submit as many letters as they like.

It’s my hope that the passion and love behind this project will inspire someone to take a chance on it and publish it, but I am open to self-publishing if that’s the only road open to me at the end of this part of the process. No matter what, our letters and stories will be shared with the world, and I sincerely can’t wait to make all of this reality with your help.

Share this post with any other nerds and fans you know who might be interested in contributing. I want to give everyone who might want a chance to be a part of something like this an opportunity to join in. My gut is telling me that we have the chance to create something moving, eye-opening, and truly special together with this project. And it would be an honor if you chose to share your stories with me through letters to the fictional women who inspire you.

Throughout the summer, I’ll be sharing letters of my own with you as I continue to write my portion of this book. I can’t wait to see what happens on this journey, and I’m excited to share it with all of you!

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69 thoughts on “Find Your Team and Get to Work: Let’s Write a Book Together!

  1. I am so excited to hear about this, and I’m so proud of you for taking on this wonderful project! This is going to be so much fun and I’m already looking forward to reading everyone’s letters. I may just have to contribute a couple of my own as well 😉

    • Thanks, Leah! I think the part of this I’m most looking forward to is reading the letters my fellow fangirls write, and I can’t wait to see any you want to contribute! 🙂

  2. I’m so proud of you, Katie, and I am unbelievably excited for this project! I can’t wait to start writing my own letters and read what everyone else contributes.

    • Thank you so much, Heather! Thank you for being the first person I was able to talk to about this project and for being my biggest source of support as I worked to get this big announcement ready. I cannot wait to see what comes next, and I can’t wait to read your letters! ❤

  3. Can’t wait to join! This is such an inspiring project and I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts. Are we allowed to write to more than one female character?

    • Thank you so much, and I’m so happy to hear you’re going to join in! And yes, you can write letters to as many characters as you’d like to.

  4. THIS IS SUCH A GREAT IDEA. I was just talking on tumblr today about realizing that I look down on a certain character because I see so much of myself in her, and I’m starting to have to rethink what makes a strong character and that’s causing me to better accept myself and the person I’ve become. I think I may end up writing a thank-you letter to her for representing a side of femininity that doesn’t always get expressed positively in media.

    Thank you for this! I’M SO EXCITED

    • Thank you for this comment! Your enthusiasm honestly put the biggest smile on my face. And I cannot wait to read your letter; it sounds wonderful already!

  5. How exciting Katie! I am so proud of you for taking on this project, and I would be honored to be a part of your team! Now the hard part, trying to decide who to write a letter to!!

      • I was happy to see one of my friends shared it with his friends (and I think he has a lot) =) And just so you know, everyone was excited and very positive about the idea. I hope some of them follow through. I have a lot of geeks + feminists in my network and most of them are aspiring writers, so they’re the perfect targets!

  6. Katie, this is SO GREAT. Such a wonderful idea and it’s just perfect for you. PERFECT. I will most definitely join the fun! Though picking one hero? This will be my Everest. 😉

  7. This is such a cool idea, Katie! I’ve already started compiling a list of characters that I might want to write letters too and honestly, it’s improved my mood by about 1000%. I went from Friday-exhaustion to inspired in under 5 minutes! I’ll have to share this idea with some of my AP students…I’ve got a few hardcore feminists in this group and they’re all of age so you wouldn’t have to worry about publishing names of minors without permission. Do you only want responses from females about females, or would you be interested in the perspective of guys on female characters too?

    • I’m so glad this could help brighten your day, Diane! And I would be honored if you shared it with your AP students. If you have guys who are interested in writing, I would love to have the male perspective on female characters who have been important to them!

  8. This is fantastic that you’re diving into a project that wallows in positivity. Holler if you need a beta reader.

  9. Wow Katie, this is such a great idea! I always loved your blog exactly for this reason: being a fan is not something childish nor out of reality, is actually a great opportunity of self-knowledge and to study our “humanity” and your texts are great on doing that. It’s so nice to find people that also have a positive point of view about fangirling. I wish you success on this journey and I’m sure the result will be amazing 🙂
    Is is ok if people from other countries send their letters to you? I will try to get inspired and send you something about these lovely ladies that make my life better ❤

    • Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! And yes, people from other countries are definitely welcome to write letters – the more the merrier! I can’t wait to see what you write! 🙂

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  22. I came on here when i saw your request thinking I would write about my favorite female character Leslie Knope. And of course, because you are in my head, that is what started this whole thing. To be honest, what I love most about Leslie is her relationship to Ann. I’m really not that connected to Leslie, as I’m nothing like her…my daughter is her clone though. But i think I noticed you were looking for someone to write about Lorelei Gilmore or one of the women in Gilmore Girls right? I also might like to write to Claire Dunphy. I’m going to think about it because I would prefer a Mom or someone that I really relate to. This sounds fun!

    • I love that we both love Leslie! She’s my inspiration for pretty much everything. 😉 And I’d love to see a letter to Lorelai Gilmore, and Claire Dunphy would be so cool too! I absolutely love Claire, so you’d definitely have a cheerleader in me if you wanted to write that letter.

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