I myself am a teenager (sixteen years old, which seems to be a popular age for YA novels), and I just wanted to give some tips for any of you who write YA but are not young adults. This is something that has gotten increasingly better in the past few years, and I read fewer books where I am like “Wait, what? I would NEVER say that.” Here are a few things to remember when writing young adults:
- Text Talk – Okay, to be honest most people who text use proper grammar, punctuation, etc. Sometimes people will text “u” instead of you and some do throw in the occasional “lol or “omg”, but nobody types something like “omg c u l8tr!” Except maybe sixth graders. The point is, when writing a texting conversation between two young adults or even just one, don’t go overboard on the texting abbreviations unless it is your characters personality to use texting abbreviations to make their life easier…if not, just treat it like a real conversation.
- Emojis – I like emojis, I really do, but while we have a selection of hundreds of different ones, only about five get used in my opinion. A lot of the time they are only used to make a sentence sound less serious or if you are trying to be sarcastic but don’t want the other person to take it the wrong way (this is when the laughing-crying emoji comes in handy). But again, like the text talk, do not go overboard!
- Cliques – When writing different groups at high school keep in mind that most schools don’t really have defined cliques. Sure there are different groups that consist of different types of people, but a lot of those times those groups intermingle. For the most part everyone is kind of friendly with each other, unless you have some unspoken thing with someone. I have been to three high schools, and I can say that there is always a more “popular” group but it isn’t as extreme as in the movies where they stand altogether and glower at the rest of the school.
- Drama – Honestly, even if something dramatic does happen to someone, it isn’t something that affects the entire school. Nobody sees that person walk by and then giggles and gossips to their friends. Really, nobody cares. The drama would only affect that person and their group of friends, as well as whoever else was involved. The rest of the school is just doing their own thing while wishing they weren’t at school.
- Parties – Honestly…this is the one where I can say it is really similar to the movies. I know, crazy right? But really, what is there left to make a mistake when it is just a house full of teenagers with loud, inaudible music and some sort of liquid knocked all over the counter.
- Friendships – In high school, friendships really do shift. You may be best friends with someone one year, and then the next year you find someone else. Those people you have known since you were kids? Well that might not matter once you step into the “life-changing” doors of high school, as they say. However, the friendships you do have are taken really seriously and are important to you at the time.
- Dating – Okay, dating is not anything like I have seen on TV or read in books, except for a few because I am happy to say not every book dramatizes it (some examples: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Saint Anything, Fangirl). Sure it is fun to read about these two people who have an AMAZING first kiss where nothing goes wrong, but that isn’t reality. When it comes to dating it is just awkward. Everything about it is so awkward and that person becomes the ONLY thing you can think about. It consumes your life and suddenly you realized you didn’t do the homework that was assigned yesterday.
- Parents – Of course there are many exceptions to what I am about to say, but there are a lot of teenagers who actually like their parents…I know, shocking right? There are those rebellious kids who sneak out and drive their parents mad, but for the most part we as teenagers respect them and don’t want to disappoint them!
That is all I have for this post and I hope it was helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog posts and follow me on social media 🙂
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