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  • Writer's picturePaul Rouse

Carmon Blog: All Things STUGO & All Things Life

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

#STUGOtheNovel #RightfulSystem #WadewoodAlliance

How It All Began

Three and half years ago I came home one day and began jotting down ideas for a novel. From the moment I put pen to paper, I knew I wanted my new novel to include both a realistic description of teenagers, as well as a focus on mental health.

By showcasing teenagers as my main characters, I was able to defy the picture society paints. Too often do we see tv shows and movies where teens are depicted as either alcoholics or drug users, with no legitimate background or story to explain what brought them there. Now, I do acknowledge that there are teens who do fit these categories, and I don't mean to say that these qualities make someone a bad person. I simply mean to use STUGO as a means to create teenagers, who don't exemplify the traits of alcoholics or drug abusers but instead are hardworking individuals who look out for one another and even rule entire nations.

Another issue that is close to my heart is mental health. In my novel, I use one of my main characters, Drew, to showcase what anxiety looks like, and another named Thomas to display the effects of depression. I also convey various other mental health issues, but for this post, I'll focus on what I wish to show through the characters I mentioned above. Both Thomas and Drew are freshmen officials in the Rightful System Alliance. They're both respected by their peers and they both strive to do what they believe is right. One would think their lives would be perfect. I'd like to pause here and say this: everyone believes the people who seem to have everything are always perfectly fine, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Therefore, in STUGO I showcase this through both Drew and Thomas. While they both appear nothing but happy, Drew struggles with anxiety and tries to mask how much of a toll it takes on him, and Thomas struggles with depression but hides it until he breaks. If we truly wish to move forward as a society it will be imperative that we begin discussing mental health, not pretending as though it is a fictitious subject.

To conclude, I began the journey that propelled me to write STUGO by embedding the two issues above into my writing. My biggest hope for this novel is that it shares both how teenagers can be both intelligent and caring, as well as how individuals do have the power to control their mental health, and not let their mental health control them.


Paul Rouse

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