Getting into the 'Mindset' of a Teen
Ok. So I’m not here to lecture. I’m just here to offer four, big (helpful) tips to anyone (readers, writers, aliens etc.) who wants to how I get into the ‘mindset’ of a teen, in order to write my books. You may desire to use these tips if you write Young Adult (YA) fiction like me (go us!); if you are interested in my work (I will love you forever more) or if you want to attempt to understand the angst teens go through (we’ve all been there I’m sure!). Whatever floats your literary boat!
Therefore, without further ado, let’s get down to business.
The Big (Helpful) Tip One: Think like a Teen
‘Do I want to be my own person or follow the crowd?’
This includes the sense of insecurity vs. inner strength and belief. Many teens reflect on their identity as they grow, including myself. This is usually influenced by peers, adults and the external environment.
‘He’s so funny. I really like that in a guy. Oh god! Did I just say the ‘l’ word?’
This includes that moment (or several moments) when you begin to feel differently about someone. You get butterflies in your stomach. You start to sweat. You begin to shake. All in all, you realise that things aren’t going to be the same ever again!
‘If I eat this chocolate cake, will it explode?’
This includes the ability to make both hard and easy choices. Some choices may also be impulsive and uncertain and can lead to characters making mistakes. However, such decisions are usually exciting to read as well as write.
(SPOILERS) 'Luke. I am your father!’
This includes the life history of a character. The more a teen has a backstory, the more believable they should be. Backstories can also play a key role in the plot, leading to amazing plot twists and character reveals.
The Big (Helpful) Tip Two: Act like a Teen
‘I love you guys so much. Can I get a group hug?’
This is a big one and one of my favourites. I think friendship is important, especially when understanding the way in which teenagers act. Through friendship, many obstacles can be overcome, even if friendship doesn’t always run smoothly.
Right vs. Wong:
‘It’s wrong to hurt animals you…you animal!’
This includes the ability to standing up for what’s right. Now, for different characters, including teens, what’s considered to be ‘right’ can be subjective. Nevertheless, having a teen who feels confident enough to voice their opinion on the matter is usually a good idea.
The Big (Helpful) Tip Three: Talk like a Teen
‘No. You don’t say!’
I think this point is self-explanatory.
‘I face-planted the floor!’
Getting the right lingo is important when writing YA fiction. Keep up to date with how teenagers talk, although don’t forget that teens can use complicated words from time to time, like ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’. I’m so using that in one of my books!
The Big (Helpful) Tip Four: Look like a Teen
‘Those shoes are like OMG!’
Making sure that your characters are wearing the right fashions is important. If your character is a designer fanatic, then have them wear designer clothes. If your character likes going against the norm, then have them go all 'Lady Gaga'. If your character is from the Victorian Era, then make sure that they are wearing Victorian clothes unless, of course, they are doing a spot of time travelling!
All in all, I hope this has helped. Talk to teenagers if you can and please fill free to comment below and offer your own opinions on the matter!