Friday, June 14, 2013

More than a Trope

As a New Adult author I'm used to the typical New Adult storyline that has everyone rolling their eyes.
Bad Boy
Virginal good girl with a dark past
Mind blowing sexual love story

The dark past, in many books, has been that the girl has been raped. There have been countless New Adult books with this theme. And...(Mild spoiler, but it's kind of obvious) I wrote a book with a girl that was raped.

I was really scared on how people would respond to it. I didn't want people to think I was just cashing in on the trope, but then I knew that I needed to tell this story.


Because not all of the events in The Only Exception are fictional.

This is the first time I've talked about it in an open forum. My cps knew about it, my friend Katie knows about, my husband, and some other resources like YWCA stepping stones.

No I didn't get involved with a governor's son, or have to get the Morning after Pill. But I did deal with the slut shaming, the constant looking over my shoulder, and the isolation. I didn't think I could write about my experience. I still can't talk about all of the details. I actually didn't even think anything of it for a long time.

I was a senior in college. I went out for my friend's 21st birthday. We were all drinking and then took a cab over to a party. I was engaged at this time, but my fiancé stayed home. I wished he would have came, but I thought I was fine in a group of friends. The party was at a fraternity house in which I was friends with a lot of the guys. I remember it had been awhile since I'd gone and was excited that I had lost so much weight in the past few months and could wear a short skirt and dance around like my other friends.

I thought it was my fault that I was drunk.

I thought it was my fault for wearing my short skirt.

I thought it was my fault that I even sat down on the bench next to the guy.

I didn't talk about it for a long time. I didn't think it was a big deal. He didn't "rape" me I thought. Then I started to hear other girls' stories and that was when I got to courage to talk to my fiancé and my best friend, Katie, about it.

Katie told me, "what he did to you is considered rape."

I never reported him. I still felt guilt after that night. My "friends" who were with me looked the other way.

Writing The Only Exception was like digging the hole again. I didn't think I could do it. My critiuqe partners wanted me to go there. They said that I couldn't dance around the issue. Then I read stories like the Stubenville rape case and Lizzy Seeberg's story. I knew the story that had to be written. I knew that my character wasn't going to just heal by having a sexual encounter with a guy. That's not how the real world works. I had her go to counseling. I had her deal with real life scenarios. I wanted her story to speak to people and hopefully help someone.

Rape is more than a trope and that's how I wrote it. I love what writers like Colleen Hoover have done in which they do put resources for people struggling with the same issues, in the back of their book.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with rape or sexual assault, there are a number of resources. You don't have to feel like you are a trope. You don't have to feel helpless.

RAINN they have resources, including state and federal ones and where to get counseling and other help.  You don't have to do this alone.

Magan Vernon is an international bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband and two little girls. You can find her online at


  1. Wow Magan. Thank you so much for sharing. I think young adults, teens, adults need to read books like this and know they aren't alone. And I didn't feel like you were cashing in on a trope at all. You handled the subject very well!

  2. That took a lot of courage to talk about Megan. I admit that I have judged females for wearing short skirts and drinking too much at parties. I just honestly thought since I could chose not to, they could too. Your story has given me more to think about. Though I never believed rape or trying to assault someone because of their clothes or physical state is okay. And trust me you're not cashing in, you're sharing an awful experience to uplift others.

    1. Yeah, I judged them to until I became one of them. It's so hard not to see it one way. You think "Oh, that girl is dancing and totally flirting with that guy and she's dressed skanky." I remember that it was my friend's birthday and I had just lost 50 pounds over that summer. I was so proud to show off and finally wear the skirts like my friends did. I also remember throwing at that skirt after the party.

  3. Thank you for your words. i too wrote a book where the girl was raped..but by her boyfriend. I was the girl. It took writing the book to deal with the issues of rape that happened 20 years on the past. Finally I was able to let my husband touch me without boundaries. Writing was better than therapy. It was very healing. I wanted young people to understand that even if you are dating someone it is still rape if it is not an agreed upon act. HOwever I had some beta readers that told me the reaction my mc had after the rape was unrealistic. I become a bit permiscuous after. Felt I was a piece of trach so might as well go full out into the dumpster. Was hurtful that the readers didn't understand the direction of self distruction the character took, but I stood firm and kept it in the book. Thank you for sharing your story. It means a lot to know we aren't alone.

    1. I'm so sorry that happened to you. It's hard when people judge our writing, especially when it's so personal. I think I cry everytime someone says my character's actions are unrealistic and just want to scream "you don't know." But in the end I had to separate myself from the character. And writing it out really does help.