American-born Kurdish author Medeia Sharif currently writes multicultural YA fiction from her home in Miami Beach.
Her first YA novel, THE BESTEST RAMADAN EVER, will see publication by Flux, Summer 2011.
You can find out much more about Medeia’s about humorous and honest approach to writing fiction by visiting her website, http://sharifwrites.com/
In THE BESTEST RAMADAN EVER, fifteen-year-old Almira, besides falling love with the same boy her best friend has a huge crush on, is fasting for Ramadan for the first time while her grandfather, who knocks down mailboxes when parking, is teaching her to drive.
Meanwhile, Almira is busy ducking a new enemy in the catty fellow-Muslim Shakira.
Sounds like your normal teenage week to me. :-) Medeia was kind enough to share her strategies for creating Teen Voice in this guest post.
Writing Teen Voice
By Medeia Sharif
I’ve made the mistake of making the teenage voice sound overly mature in my earlier drafts of YA fiction. I had to remind myself that I was writing teen characters for teens.
My own grown-up voice cannot function in this arena. So here are some strategies that I use to create and maintain a teenage voice in my manuscripts.
1. I observe teens whenever I’m out and about. The way they dress, talk, shop, text, speak, write…I take note of everything.
2. I read things written by teens. There are blogs, Myspace pages, Twitter accounts, and other available text that I can learn from. Their voice seeps into what they write.
So when I’m working on a scene that has text messaging, instant messaging or journal entries, I have a good idea of how a teenager writes.
3. This isn’t always fun, but I think back to my own teenage years. Teenagers today may have different slang, fashion trends and forms of expression, but some things don’t change over time. I channel the awkwardness, melodrama, and self-consciousness and use it in my writing.
4. When I revise and edit, I ask myself if a teenager would think and speak in the way portrayed in my manuscript. If the answer is no, I cut and rewrite. I even read my work out loud to make sure it sounds teen.