I spent last night hanging out with some teens from our youth group at church. I have to say, I dragged into church, tired after a busy day. Next thing I know, I’m laughing, singing and sharing their excitement. Whether you like it or not, teens will drag you into whatever is going on. If they are going to have fun, they’ll make sure you are too. Their energy is contagious. Oh, if only it could be bottled and used the month before a deadline.
The other reason I love being around young people is that I get a glimpse into a unique world. Their world view is vastly different than mine, but I have to say, I enjoy listening to their point of view. It challenges me. Makes me think. And as a writer, I love to think outside the box.
Developing characters is a multifaceted job. I may start out with a brief idea of who I want my characters to be, but the fun part is expanding that idea to actually create a story. Real life intrudes on the development. The voices of my characters are all around me, from word choices, to style, even how I picture them in my mind.
Being real is important when bringing a character to life. Teens are very real. Sometimes they share their problems. Often times they share their opinions. They aren’t afraid to tell you if they disagree. They talk. I listen. When I’m writing, I can hear their voices, which help to make my stories richer. And the best part? When I’m with them I get to introduce them to a whole new world. My world as a writer.
Once the teens find out I have books published, I hear all kinds of a story ideas. None I would use, mind you, but I love sharing their creativity and outlandish premises. When anyone comes to me saying they’d like to write, I take the time to encourage and motivate. With the avid readers, I suggest books they might like. I’m excited to tell the girls about the Heartwarming line. Just think, a new generation of readers will enjoy our books.
Now that’s something to get excited about.
Tara, great post!ReplyDelete
Tara! What a nice way to begin my day - catching your excitement. Two of our granddaughters lived with us for a while in their teens, and you're absolutely right - they love to share their opinions - even if, or especially if they're different from yours. That's how they grow and learn - and how we do, too. At my age, they help me NOT act or feel like a fossil. How nice that your church group has you as a model - and that you're helping grow more Heartwarming readers!ReplyDelete
Nice post Tara! My son is only three and already he is very opinionated (I'm told he gets his 'attitude' from me lol), so I can only imagine when he is a teen:)ReplyDelete
I so agree that it would be wonderful to bottle the energy of young people. I used to think I had a lot of energy, but it's sure waning now. I hope there is a new generation of readers. When I first wrote for the Harlequin Romance line I had a lot of young readers whose mother's told them my books were okay for them to read. Now when I see teens reading some of the YA dystopian stories, I hope that's not the slice of life they use as a model. No matter that I loved the Hunger Games, some I've read leave me depressed. Not our Heartwarming books. They'll uplift.
I've dragged into church each night since Sunday! It's VBS. Usually, I do the puppet show. This year, the teens did it with me directing. You know what. The teens did a better job. They were more willing to ad-lib, they were more willing to laugh at their mistakes which got the audience laughing, and they had soooo much fun. And, I had to sit with the teens, and yup Muriel, I felt like a fossel.ReplyDelete
Kudos to all of you who volunteer at VBS. I went to Catholic school so had 'religion' all year long. But my husband spent summers in a small town in Wisconsin where all the kids went to Baptist VBS, no matter what religion they were, because it was so educational and so much fun!Delete
Is VBS like CYO ?Delete
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VBS stands for Vacation Bible School. It's a week long 'fun' event where kids are encouraged to invite their friends. What does CYO stand for?Delete
Catholic Youth Organization. They'd hold dances and stuff like that. Thanks for telling me what VBS was.Pamela. Was curious.Delete
Tara, I adore your post! I teach teenagers and it is such a rewarding experience to work with such dynamic, enthusiastic young people. I agree that they have amazing stories to tell and they inspire me in my Young Adult novels. I have a teenage daughter in my upcoming Heartwarming and I drew on the relationship struggles she has with a boy from the similar conflicts I witness in my school. It is such a great idea to listen to teenagers and to encourage them to write. When I leave teaching- which I need to do next year in order to fulfill my YA and Romance writing contracts- I will miss them terribly and plan to follow your example and volunteer with them through our local Arts Center.ReplyDelete
So glad to see this post connected with so many of you.ReplyDelete
I could use some of that youthful energy! And I think that connecting to people of different ages, races, points of view help us grow as writers because they open our mind to possibilities that we may not have realized before.ReplyDelete