Wednesday, April 13, 2011
WRITING FOR TEENAGERS
After writing fiction entirely for adults for years, I recently turned my talents to writing for teenagers with several successful eBooks, HER TEEN DREAM, GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY, and DANGER IN TIME (the latter two are in print as well).
I was asked in a radio interview last week by the host, an author herself, how have I been able to so effectively get into the heads of teenagers?
I responded, the same way I am effectively able to get into the heads of my adult characters. That may be oversimplifying it a bit, but in general I believe that any good writer should be able to take on any character's point of view, if you do your homework and have a grasp on the persons you are writing about.
In the case of teen fiction, I will admit that it's not as easy as going from one adult novel to another. Being used to writing for and about grownups, it has been somewhat challenging to take on the teenage characters and readership. But I was up for the challenge and found the perfect source for honing in on today's teenagers, their language, feelings, issues, etc.
That source happened to be my teenage nieces and nephews, who were thrilled to be able to lend their uncle a helping hand on getting it right. That included critiquing my teen novels and steering me in right direction , whenever necessary.
But I did not rely solely on my nephews and nieces. My wife was also a big help in recalling her own teen years in giving me advice about the female characters. I used my own memories of the turbulent and exciting teen years as well to craft my young adult fiction.
Being observant when out and about, watching teenage television series, and even reading some of today's hottest authors of teen fiction gave me added perspective on writing for this age group.
Happily, this journey has not only broadened my fan base, but allowed me to get the creative juices flowing in a different direction while tapping into the wide ranging talents I have stored in me. As a result, I now consider myself a young adult novelist to go with author of adult fiction, limited only by the power of my imagination and willingness to go the extra mile as a writer.
Do you write for teenagers and adults? If so, what have been your challenges in differentiating the two?
Which population do you enjoy writing for the most?