Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Musings: "Why do you write for teens?"

Umm...because teens are awesome?? Need I say more?

Apparently I need to say more.

Simply stated, I write for teens because most of my stories are about young people. Who's to say why, really? I would never try to alter or suppress my creative instincts, and these are the stories and characters that come to me first.

But as far as the underlying WHY of it, I do have a few guesses. First, I'm a relatively young writer, so a lot of the life experiences I draw upon when I write are about younger people go through. Writing teachers often tell sutdents to "write what you know," and I do.

I also like the feeling of writing for teen readers. I imagine I can have more impact as a writer with young readers, especially because a lot of the issues I care about and write about are particularly meaningful to explore when you're young: like finding true friendship, relating to your family, and discovering your identity; in other words--figuring out who you are in relation to the world!

In fairness, I have readers of all ages, and you never outgrow these explorations, but it changes over time. I want to inspire young people to think about these things early--the more you know yourself, the more confident you can be as you move through all the challenges that life has in store for you.

In the regular grown-up world, the concept of writing for young people seems to be something you either get, or you don't. Most people who meet me think my job seems cool. Every once in a while, I meet someone who just doesn't get it, and they tend to ask me things like:
  • "Are you ever going to write a real adult novel?"
  • "Writing for children must be easier. Is that why you do it?"
  • "Do you illustrate your own books?"
The answers are:
  • Yes, probably. I have some adult book ideas, but, by the way, novels for children are perfectly "real."
  • No, it's not easier, and that's not why I do it.
  • No. In the first place, I've never published a picture book, only novels. In the second place, I'm not a visual artist. If I ever write a picture book, it'll be illustrated by a professional!
No matter what else happens, I plan to keep writing for children and teens!

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