Monday, February 1, 2010

WRITING TEEN VOICE - AMY HOLDER

Amy Holder wrote her first chapter book (62 pages) in third grade. Her debut Young Adult novel, The Lipstick Laws, will be published by Graphia (Hougton Mifflin Harcourt) in Spring 2011.

Amy was kind enough to reference my ghost lore background in her guest post. You can visit here blog HERE. And check out her website (currenly under construction) HERE.

Séance Your Inner Teen.
      By Amy Holder.

While writing THE LIPSTICK LAWS, I found it helpful to turn off the lights, light some candles, sit cross-legged, and hum methodically to summon my inner teen...

In all reality, writing an authentic teen voice can be hard... especially for adults who've gladly moved on from the dilemmas of adolescence. However, everyone can travel back to the sometimes harrowing memories of peer pressure, teen crushes, insecurities, first kisses, wanting to fit in, breakups, first jobs, jammed lockers, being asked (or not asked) to the prom, and the social hierarchies that went along with high school.

The enduring emotions connected to teenage years are oftentimes so heightened, that the teenage boy or girl wanting so desperately to find his or her place in the world is most likely still lurking somewhere inside of you.

The best advice I can give about writing a teenage voice is to find that lurking teenager and bring him or her to the surface of your current emotions.

Let your keyboard magically transform you into that band geek, prom queen, BFF, wannabe, shy wallflower, star quarterback, new kid, bully, heart-breaker, teacher's pet, or whomever your authentic teenage self was.... and let those raw emotions flow from your fingertips onto the page or computer screen in front of you.

I urge you to remember the highs and lows of that period of time in your life. And once you're writing from a place of true emotion, you'll avoid the common mistake many writers make when writing for teens - writing what they think others want to read, rather than writing authentically.

Teens are smart, and they can spot a fraud from miles away.

12 comments:

GhostFolk.com said...

Thanks, Amy! I'm still looking for the Ouija board, just in case.

Amy Holder said...

Thanks so much for hosting me! :)

Nancy said...

Ok, I see where you're going, but I'll have to find something new to write now that Amy has channeled my (our) inner teen!

Terry said...

Good advice. I especialy liked finding that lurking teenager inside of you.

Kathy McCullough said...

This was great! I especially liked Amy's comment about not writing what you THINK teens want to read, and just being authentic. That's key.

Jessilyn said...

I love her already and haven't even read the book can't wait!!

Dani. said...

I second that Jessilyn! Great post:)

Alissa said...

I think for all of us, the teen years left a pretty big impression on us. So, unless you have deliberately tried to block out those memories, it's not too hard to take a trip down memory lane and relive those years. Of course, that can be even scarier than a good ghost story!

GhostFolk.com said...

Thanks for your comments, all! Speaking of teen voice, I'm off reading Dani's blog, Everything she writes is teen voice. :-)

I just found Jessilyn's blog too.
What fun!

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Great post. Teens can tell in an instant if the voice is authentic.

Bettina Restrepo said...

Good info Amy. I think we all agree the teen reader, and those who love YA, needs authenticity - and not just the main character. The BFF has to be real, the prom date diaster has to be intense, and the zombies have to be life-like :-)

Amy Holder said...

Thanks so much for all the fabulous responses! And thanks again for letting me be a guest on your blog, Randy!