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Normal Teenagers

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Old 10-02-2016, 10:35 AM
YvonJan (Offline)
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Default Normal Teenagers


Hi there. So I'm writing a story series which will involve all manner of teen characters. Trouble is, not only was I not a normal teen, I never understood the normal trappings of the teenaged female. I've preferred many of the things guys do, and also have long since recognized the hollowness of obsessing over Hollywood/fashion, and all the stuff teen girls go on about.

In other words, how do I teen girl? I want my my normies to feel more 3D, so what are they really like? Or what is something I can read that would help?

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Old 10-02-2016, 01:44 PM
neuliest (Offline)
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What time period are you referring to? Teen behavior has changed over the decades. I can offer insight into modern teen behavior, 2010-today.
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:48 AM
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Modern, of course.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:05 PM
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Hi YvonJan, You post follows mine for reference. Here's a few thoughts on your question.

Why are you writing this? Why does this topic resinate in you? What are you wanting to say? If you can get clear why you're writing something most times that will solve many issues.

Who is it being written for? When you imagine your ideal reader who is that? A teen? A good or bad teen? A parent of a teen? Your grandmother? Your english teacher? An old girl friend? If you can dig this out of your subconscious it will solve many issues.

Are you a teen? And if so, those questions above will be helpful. If you're not a teen and want to capture teenhood how do you get the needed expertise? There's many ways to do this, from the net to teen mags.

I believe there are no shortcuts to writing. If you can't live what you write then you have to gain that experience by research then transporting yourself into it.

Finally, no matter how you prepare yourself, you still have to write it. So write it. Do a rough draft. Clean it up and share it here. Evaluate the feedback. Throw it away or do a rewrite. Call it gone or done. Write something else.

Some ideas to ponder. Good luck with it. wrc

Originally Posted by YvonJan View Post
Hi there. So I'm writing a story series which will involve all manner of teen characters. Trouble is, not only was I not a normal teen, I never understood the normal trappings of the teenaged female. I've preferred many of the things guys do, and also have long since recognized the hollowness of obsessing over Hollywood/fashion, and all the stuff teen girls go on about.

In other words, how do I teen girl? I want my my normies to feel more 3D, so what are they really like? Or what is something I can read that would help?
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Last edited by wrc; 10-03-2016 at 05:08 PM..
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by YvonJan View Post
In other words, how do I teen girl? I want my my normies to feel more 3D, so what are they really like? Or what is something I can read that would help?
There's a sort of zen to this, I've found. It involves not pigeonholing people.

I couldn't possibly write convincingly about an American teen girl. I'm male, I'm in my mid-forties and I've never set foot in the US, so I have no idea how such characters think.

But if I develop a character who I find likeable and interesting and intelligent and imaginative, who also coincidentally happens to be an American teen girl, then I'll be able to write that character with conviction.

In other words, rather than try to write about an "average" or stereotypical female teen, write about a unique person. If you the writer don't like her, then your reader definitely won't ---- readers are immensely sensitive to the writer's feelings in this ---- so if this is a viewpoint character or a protagonist then make sure you like her.

If you'd like to capture the feeling of being a teenager (of either sex) then your character should experience peer pressure, insecurity about her appearance, fear of rejection, hazing or teasing about height, weight, clothing and hairstyle choices, and the struggle to establish a place in the social pecking order that isn't right at the bottom; but these should not be the main themes of your story unless you want your story to be quite a boring one.

Also note that a very large proportion of your prospective audience is made up of bookish women, who by and large will not have been the hair-and-makeup, gossip-and-boyfriends, soap-watching crowd. They will be predisposed to like reading stories where the loner, tomboyish teen girl, who is or was near the bottom of the school pecking order, struggles against adversity, succeeds, and becomes important and popular.
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:05 PM
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I agree with Non Serviam. Writing to your target audience is a solid piece of advice. Teens are diverse. And I think teen activities will vary based on demographics. That said, I live with two teens. Here are some observations

They communicate via text and social media. Snapchat, tumblr etc
- call their close friends their squad
- quote memes
- follow social media (not magazines)
- are happy alone in their rooms (because they have phones, iPads and computers)
-do their homework online
- most drama is stirred up by texts and social media
-play a sport or two
-anti-smoking
-hot topic : gender fluidity
-environmentally friendly
-passionate about music which they listen to constantly on their phones
-less playing outside more watching Net Flicks
-smart and nerdy are now the cool kids
Anyway, they are all different as should be your character. Best of luck
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:11 AM
YvonJan (Offline)
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I appreciate you guys taking the time to respond, but...well, I'm not sure how helpful this advice is. I want to be able to understand a certain mindset, and I need to find a source to do this.

Though neuliest, I do appreciate your post, as it does get me thinking about things. There's good stuff there. I don't agree with the smart and nerdy = cool thing, however. In my experience, this is not the case. Socially friendly people will always be the coolest, not because they're better than anyone else, but because they understand interpersonal relationships, and how to either use or misuse relationships to be or to appear cooler.

As you can see, you obviously like friendly people better than those who nerdily state objections to a statement you have made. But still, thanks for the help. I really should consider social media more for research, and it's a good direction to go. Thanks for the help.

Non Serviam, I am not attempting to pigeonhole anyone. In fact, I'm trying to come out of the pigeonhole. I always appreciate reality in fiction, and even though there is a lot of variation in teenagers, I want to have some sort of data on them, to really connect with their feelings. If I do this, I will be able to create teenaged characters who are not like me. One's ability as a writer hinges on the ability to write about people who are not oneself. I don't want to just have that stereotypical, "I judge you by the clothes you wear" mean girls thing. Even though I faced a lot of guff from the cool kids in school, that is not the sum totality of who they are.

WRC, uh, issues? Really, I'm writing a series in which the protagonist of every story is a different superhero girl. Thus, any issue for a teen is pretty relevant, as how having powers would affect her life. Also, I know I need to research. This thread is an attempt to begin my research.

Quite frankly, I'm starting to wonder how open my local high school might be to allowing an author to visit and talk to the kids.
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