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.