The Real Difference Between Us….March 16, 2009 at 3:25 PM | Posted in Life, Op-Ed | 4 Comments
Tags: audience, experience, teen, teen author, teen writer, teenager, time, writer, Writing, YA, young adult
I remember watching an interview with a teen writer. Several – in fact all of them – included one familiar question.
What is it like being a teen author?
Now, I am assuming here (not always a good thing) that these interviewers want to know what it is like being a successful teen versus being a successful adult. Instead of, say, being a teen writer in general. Just, “what is it like existing?” doesn’t feel like what they are asking. With that clarified, I would like to answer this question in two ways. One way is how I imagine these interviewers obviously want it answered. The other, in a more personal way that a lot of us here may identify with.
Being a teen gives us, basically, an advantage in the young adult market. We just know things. Adult writers will sometimes look at, say, their own kids, or the kids they teach or mentor or just come in contact with and say “They aren’t old enough to understand this,” or “I don’t want to introduce them to this,” or “they won’t be able to handle this.” Even worse, they will do a direct opposite. They will say “They may be kids but in this modern time they know everything” and then put in way too much sex, drug use, or language. Far more than necessary and far more than anyone, teen or adult, is comfortable with. As teens, we know what teen readers not only can handle, but what they want to handle and what they want in fiction for a good read. “What is it like being a teen writer?” It is like having an advantage over the adults. It is knowledge and experiences remembered. It is not looking at what other authors are putting into their books as a guideline for content but just knowing without a thought how far really is too far, what is interesting or catchy or in an opposite case what is too boring.
Secondly, I think the major difference for me is that we have more time. If you get into writing when you are ten, instead of forty, you have roughly thirty extra years on an adult to spend time doing what you love. You grow in talent, not faster, just earlier, and can spend up to sixty, seventy, eighty… ninety… years doing what you love instead of thirty, forty, fifty… I love that I have so many years ahead of me to write. I imagine when you all think of it you agree!
I would love to know what everyone else feels on this point. What do you feel when you hear the question “What is it like being a teen writer?”
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- Teens Writing for Teens is a community of young adult authors writing YA fiction. We're here to offer insight, encouragement and amusement as we live the lives of young novelists and deal with that ever-popular question, "So...aren't you a little young to write a book?"
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