A BLOG FOR READERS AND AUTHORS OF MTV BOOKS
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
WRITING FOR TEENS AND KEEPING IT REAL
At two of my recent book signings people asked how I did research for my books and how I was able to keep things current for teens. Well, first off, I am the oldest of five kids and my youngest sister is graduating high school next week. We still like a lot of the same movies, music and fashion trends. When I was editing Shrinking Violet I would often go to her for word choice, fashion advice and other details that can really make or break the believability of the book.
Also, in many ways I have carried my teen years with me. It’s no mistake that I write for this age. High school was the best and worst years of my life, filled with so many emotions, friends and non-friends. I like to read about teens and watch movies with teen characters. This all falls into the research category too.
I also taught middle school for a while and tutored kids of all ages. Being around kids in a learning environment really allowed me to pick up on their fears, desires and basic mannerisms.
Nowadays, I often tote my laptop with me to my local Starbucks and eavesdrop on teens just hanging out as I write. Their conversations make for great background noise. But most importantly, I really enjoy being around teenagers and hearing what they have to say. I definitely believe that if I knew half of what I knew then about life that I know now, I wouldn’t have stressed so much. Of course, the only downside to that is I wouldn’t have much to write about!
I can definitely relate to a lot of the issues and anxieties that teens are dealing with. But ask me that when my own kids are in high school and see if I say the same thing—lol! But my most important advice of all is to keep it real!