Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing help - creating "voice"

A little while ago, I proposed a YA paranormal series to Tor based on a short story I wrote for them. One of the things my editor mentioned was that I need to plan for a "teen voice" which is apparently different from a Young Adult voice. After asking a number of people what the difference was, I'm thinking it's more a "tween" thing---that murky water between childhood and adulthood, where there are equal thoughts of playing with dolls and dressing like one. LOL!

It doesn't seem that long ago since I swam in those same murky waters, even though I know it has been. But I think I'm stuck in a sort of permanent adolescence because many of the shows I watch on television are tween and teen ones. I actually like a lot of the reality shows. I also like cartoons and nearly anything offered on Disney or Nickelodean. the Fairly Oddparents and Spongebob are just as likely to be on a set in my house as House or NCIS. Fortunately, my husband is more than happy to plop down with a plate of food and watch the Simpsons or Phineas and Ferb. (Yeah, we're sort of weird.) I like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place and a host of others.

So I guess I'm more confused about how to write "adult" some days. In many ways, being a kid is less complex than being an adult. You get to let some decisions be made by those older and really don't WANT to be the one to make them. I know many adults who didn't have a real childhood (and I don't mean the Michael Jackson sort, but those who were missing a parent or were forced to become the parent for younger siblings.) I've always felt bad when that happens and even though I write angst in teens when I write them, I like them to have some stability, some sense of family that those reading can cling to.

I've had teens tell me they can really relate to my characters and that's probably because I know where they're coming from--even though I don't have any kids of my own. Yes, life has changed and has gotten more complicated for kids now, but it's also gotten easier in some ways. It's pretty evenly balanced from when I was their age.

My "voice" in writing wants me to create kids who struggle with the obligations of being a kid, and are thrust into situations that are scary, but always have someone strong rooting for them in the background (whether an adult family member or sibling or such) and helping them with a hand up out of a mess. Life is hard enough without having nobody to count on. Y'know?

How about you? Did you have a strong adult role model when you were growing up or were you the "adult" in your family? Would you change it if you could? I'm interested to know! :)

(BTW, regarding the YA paranormal? I'm still working on some of the edits they wanted, amongst all the other stuff I'm doing. LOL! Amazing how fast the time slips by.)

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