Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How Can You Write For Teens When You Don’t Like Them?

This question was posed after a particularly colorful rant I had the other day. I was in a grumpy mood to begin with, but then I’d been hearing my coworkers complain about their selfish teenagers. I’d witnessed lazy teens in the waiting room giving their parents attitude for no reason, while their pants hung below their butt-cheeks. I’d started listening to a book (I won’t mention the name) where the main character was whinny, hateful and just an all around little sh*t.

This sparked a rant like I’d been channeling a crotchety old man—minus shaking a cane at the neighborhood kids to keep them off of my lawn.

So when the question was asked: How can you write for teens when you don’t like them? It stopped me in my tracks. The coworker who asked this has read my work. She looked at me like she was completely confused.

That’s when I had to step back and rewind all the things I’d said in my head. Yes, I guess it would sound like I don’t like teens, but nothing could be further from the truth. I actually love that age group. The immediacy of everything and the intensity, but what I probably love the most is the new experiences, straddling the lines of child and adult. I loved being a teenager. (I wouldn’t want to go back, but…) I loved high school and this is why I write for teens.

What I explained to my coworker is that my rant should have been aimed at selfish people, at whinny people, and mean-spirited little sh*ts because that’s who I really dislike. And as we all know, those personality flaws are prevalent in all ages.

So even though no teens were harmed during the production of my rant, I apologize. I love you teenagers. Rock on! lol.


Jemi Fraser said...

This made me laugh - we all have those moments!

Like you I wouldn't go back in time, but I think it's such an interesting and wonderful time of life.

Vicki Rocho said...

It's not just teens...little Sh*ts come in all ages and sizes!

I'll join your rant against whiny, selfish, negative people any day whether they're 14, 41 or 91!

Karen Denise said...

Yes, Jemi, my teen years were such an interesting time that most people think I'm making up some of my stories...a teacher who was legally blind, a teacher who had such a bad stutter we really only had a good 15 min of teaching in our hour long class, and then a teacher who was so absent-minded she wore her shirt to work with the hanger still in it! LOL.

Yes Vicki, join my rant against whinny, selfish, mean-spirited little sh*ts no matter the age!

Tere Kirkland said...

I think there may be an epidemic of whiny, selfish people in this country. Or maybe it just seems like it because they're louder and more obnoxious. I hear ya!

Fun post!

Melissa Marsh said...

My stepsons are both teenagers and going through the incredible highs and lows of emotions and relationships. They think they have found "the one" in their current girlfriends, and I just smile and nod.

There is an alarming amount of disrespectful teenagers, though, and perhaps you can gently influence a change in that trend through your writing?

Jai Joshi said...

It sounds like you have a love/hate relationship which makes perfect sense.

Teens are so intense about everything that they naturally bring out this reaction is a lot of people. For you to have picked that up simply means that you're good at your job!

Rock on.


Bethany Mattingly said...

That was a fun post to read. :) I hadn't thought about that before but now that you've gotten the idea in my thoughts I find that I can sometimes do the same thing. I can really get annoyed with them, but at the same time I really love talking to teens and I loved being one. :) Great post!

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

I just wanted to swing by and let you know I got your comment and wanted to thank you for stopping by and it's good to connect with those who knew how amazing Zel was and that life was really like her personal playground. I'm glad we all have the opportunity to share her book with the world, and that the proceeds go to such a good cause.
I know this has left a wake of hurt and thanks for stopping by my blog. It's nice to meet you even under these circumstances :)
And yes, rock on teens!