One of the books I have planned for NaNoWriMo is a contemporary soft science fiction. It centers around a girl in high school, which means I had to do research on teenagers.
I sat down with one of my cousins and grilled him for two hours on how teenagers dress, what they listen to, what they watch, what they say…
And I didn’t feel a million years old asking things like: What do kids these days like to do for fun?
After all of that, I still didn’t realize how much of a non-teenager I am until I went to a critique session for our writers conference. We were split into multiple groups, and part of the split was teenagers and adults. Since I was a part of the committee, I got to rotate through the groups, and for half an hour, I sat with a group of teenagers and listened to them read their stories.
I loved their enthusiasm. For them, nothing was impossible. They didn’t care about the writing rules. Their interest was in the story, and they loved one anothers’ work. They were positive and constructive at the same time. What surprised me was the way they treated me. I was a stranger, and every time they talked, I could sense the shift in the group. The kind where an adult was talking and I was intruding on their fun circle. After a while, I stopped commenting and just listened to them.
There were a few moments that really made me want to laugh.
One girl read a very impressive epilogue to her book, and I was confused about how old her character was. Her response: "He’s way older, like in his thirties."
Imagine how that made me feel!
Also, another girl started telling the others about how excited she was to write the night before. She told us that she stayed up until 10:30pm, and that it was crazy, and she was so tired the next day.