Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm not sure what possessed me to do this, but I've completely gutted three chapters in my current WIP. I have no idea where any of this change came from, but so far, I like all of it. I'm just taking it slow, seeing what's around the corner. I added more for a character that didn't have much going on and took out some things I decided were just too slow and too...happy. These people needed more conflict..yeah..they are just 17 and seniors in high school, but what's high school without changing up boyfriends at the drop of a hat?

I have a 17 year old living in my house right now, so if anyone wants to argue that point with me, I'd have plenty of ammunition.
I think a lot of people that write YA don't realize how immature 17 year olds still are. Some of the books I've read seem to have very intelligent teens that make very intelligent decisions and have a high moral code. Now I'm not saying those teens don't exist. I'm saying they are few and far between.

The teens I see still do impulsive things. They still make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes they have sex with their boyfriend because they want to be loved, not because they're bad kids. Sometimes they have sex because they're just flat out curious about it, even though in their brains they know it's not a good idea.

There are a few that are more mature and are ready to take on the world, but those kiddos are few and far between. I have a few in mind right now that are. They could probably get married and start working right now and be mature enough to handle it, but that doesn't mean they should.

The majority of the kids my daughter hangs with, have jobs, are in activities and keep their grades up and their butts out of trouble, but they are still kids. They're just taller than my elementary kids. They have boyfriends and girlfriends and they have to deal with all of that too. Most of them don't do a very good job of it either. It's messy, but it's real.

So, as I write some of the experiences I had as a teen and mesh them with some of the experiences I've seen with my teen daughter, I hope my characters feel real to the reader. That's my goal anyway.


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  2. Sounds like you're headed in the right direction! Keep up the good work. Ah, and as for teens, I've an 18 year old and 14 year old at my house. FEELING YOU. Even though with my daughter, it's atypical, because she's Asperger. But I can still remember my teen years and immaturity ... vividly!

  3. I can totally attest to teen immaturity. :P That wasn't sarcasm!

    I'd consider myself reasonably mature for my age, and still, sometimes, I'll look back to something I did a week ago and I'm like, what the hell was I thinking. GROW UP RILEY.

    The key to this is making it relatable. Bad decisions are EVERYWHERE - I'll only stop reading when I can no longer see how they're justifiable.

    In LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR - Stephanie Perkins is, in my eyes, the #1 YA contemp author out there right now - Lola lies. She's not *a liar* or whatever. It's not like a habit or an unreliable narrator type of thing. But she does tell lies, like ANY REASONABLE HUMAN BEING, and when she does it, I never judge her, because I can see myself doing the same thing. It's justifiable and understandable, even if it's not a good idea or the right thing to do. Stuff like that makes me love the characters for their flaws.

  4. Anita-Did I know you were an Autism mom?? My youngest has it. She's high functioning too, still needs help with her behavior. She's in 7th grade, so some of it's Autism and some of it's hormones as you know!!! My 17 yr-old is my typical one. Cheerleader, good grades, overall good kid. Although, she has enough of her father in her..ahem..that she's feisty and speaks her mind. That's one thing about her that I envy in her personality.

    Riley- You're one of the most mature 17-year-olds I've ever come in contact with! You could so skip college and go straight out into your life. You completely rock, kiddo! College was so fun for me though, I'd hate for you to miss it. ;)I need to download Stephanie Perkins and see what you're talking about. I always trust my twitter writer buddy recommendations. They're always top notch.
    Thanks ladies for your comments!
    Love you guys!

  5. I agree: Riley is an AMAZINGLY MATURE 17-year old.

    Ok, here's my take: life experience and circumstance has a lot to do with maturity. In the Philippines where I grew up, teens are slightly more mature than their US counterparts simply because they are entrusted with a whole cartload of responsibility at a young age. Because most people are poor and because the culture dictates that everyone contributes to the community, as oppose to individualism, we have young people working/earning extra money to help out their family. While we have that here in the US, it is not as prevalent.

    I didn't have to work while going to high school, but I had to be responsible for helping out our family (sometimes, acting out as a "parent" to younger sibs. Plus I lived away from my family since I started high school so I learned to be self-reliant ealy on).

    But I've definitely seen other kids be more grown-up than befits their age (no time to goof around) because it meant survival. It's probably why I like to write fantasies set in a world I create because my mc's could be as young as 13 and get away with being mature for their age. ;) It was one of the problems I encountered when I wrote my YA WIP Hidden--at first my characters were 14-yo but beta readers said they were too mature for their age. So I had to revise and make them older. In my mind, when I was 14, I was already living in a dormitory with a bunch of other girls, carefully learning how to budget my allowance money to last me the week or month, and learning how to basically survive on my own. But they (betas) pointed out that since I have a US setting, I had to stick to what would ring true for my characters.

    Anyway, I've written a blogpost here already with this lengthy comment. LOL! Good luck with writing! Luv yah, hottie!

  6. Hee hee...I don't know which post to reply to: Red's, Riley's, or Cherie's :P

    In all seriousness, you hit a hard truth smack-dab on the head. Some YA authors are far removed from teens. Drama and impulsive behavior are trademarks of high school (Riley is one of the few exceptions - she is, indeed, a smart cookie in a world full of flaky crumbs).

    Great post!

  7. Thanks Cherie and A.M! I was wondering if it was just me..:) I'm glad I wasn't just being paranoid. My MC is 17 and is a combination of what I was like at 17 and what my daughter is like now, with a few made up circumstances in between. I hope she's believable. I feel like she is. Love you guys! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  8. Oh yes, Suzanne, you are right on the money.

    I, too, am raising a 17 year-old senior and while he's matured tremendously this past summer, he and his equally level-headed friends sometimes do things that make me wet myself for its ridiculousness. Then I look around and see other kids doing the same dang thing and I remember, oh right. They're teens. They are supposed to be like this.

    I love this age group dearly and really believe that authors who do not take the time to truly understand teens is letting down that generation.

    And yeah, Riley could get a scholarship for her maturity level. She's one kick *ss kid.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Thanks Cat! I'm like you. I love my daughter's age right now and her friends are all really great kids...but they are still kids. :)