Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Teens Rule

Many of my friends were surprised when I "stepped out from behind the curtain" as a writer two years ago. Little did they know of the boxes and boxes of journals and story notes from the past 30+ years I had tucked away all over the house. Some pals remembered my playwriting days and were baffled that my focus was now on young adult stories. 

Why did I finally step up to the writing plate and start swinging again? Two reasons – Melissa and Cameron, my kids had become teenagers. Suddenly I was immersed in the sticky tangled world of teens, and it was fantastic. Conflict, love, confusion, angst, invincibility, frustration, and madness had landed on my doorstep and I could no longer resist the pull of my own teen memories.

Teen snapshots:
Why doesn’t ______________ like me?
Can I have some gas money?
What’s wrong with my hair?
Can I have money for the movies?
Why won’t you let me wear this?
Why do I have to be home by midnight?
I’ll never finish this homework.
Can I have money for dinner?
You said no phone calls after 10:00pm – not texts.
Why is Facebook taking so long to load?
Can I have money to buy a new ringtone?
I don’t have any clothes.
Can I use your credit card for iTunes?

I’m wearing it again because it’s not dirty.
What homework?
Do we have anything to eat?
I’m not on Facebook.
Can I have money for a new World of Warcraft game card?
I don’t need a job. I’ll just eat at home.
My room is not a mess. I know where everything is.
My teachers don’t give homework.
There isn’t anything to eat in this house.
Can I have money for a new X-Box controller?
Your car isn’t that dirty. I’ll wash it next week.
I looked in the freezer. There wasn’t anything good to eat in there.
I can’t get a job. I have too much homework.

With inspiration like this, how could I keep my fingers away from the keyboard? It's all in fun. I will be forever grateful to my kids for giving me the spark to re-enter the world of writing.  

What brought you into the writing light?

picture credits


  1. My friend at university brought me into the writing light. She was always writing during class and I finally asked what she was doing. She was a little embarrassed to tell me that she writes "little stories." I asked to read one and it was a full length book! :) I showed her some of my writing...and we became critique and writing partners. Yay for writing friends! :)

  2. I read carefully what your kids say, and while it's fun, I'm still afraid of mine reaching that age! :P (scares the hell out of me! lol.)

  3. LOL next time I see "the boy" I will ask if he's found anything to eat yet at home or if that job is looking good... Kidding! I think it's great. For me it all clicked when at the bookstore in the YA section one day and my husband teasing "why are you always looking in the kids section?" And me snapping back at him "because they're GOOD." OOOOHHH *lightbulb*

  4. What brought me back to writing after several years off was the discovery of fanfic one day. I read an unfinished one and HAD to know how it ended. I decided how it should end and wrote my own version. Then I wrote another. Then I wrote a whole bunch of stuff for years. One day a couple years ago I said to myself, "Self, you might try to publish some of this." So... here I am :-)

  5. Haha :) Wow, you captured that perfectly. Made me smile. Real life is inspiring, isn't it?

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  6. Lol! Those lists are so true! Good for you for being inspired to write for youth. They're a fun audience!

  7. OMG, Leslie, have my teens been living in your house when I wasn't paying attention! Yes, yes, and yes to all you said. And I LOVE that sign. Need to get one and post in the kitchen. :-)

    My son't slogan for me is -- close mouth and open wallet! :-)

  8. Melissa - My writing buds keep me pushing for excellence while they hold my hand.

    Monica - You grow new filters when the teen vibe is in the house. No worries.

    Lisa - If my kids read this post, I am beyond busted.

    Christi - Fanfic has always tweaked my interest, but I've never taken the dive...yet.

    Sarah - That it is.

    Emily - The young adult audience has spoiled me for all others.

    Susan - LOL. I saw a t-shirt once that said "Human ATM"

  9. I started reading YA and realized I loved the genre. And that's how it all started!

  10. My kids definitely have inspired me. I love YA and MG and rarely read anything else!

  11. LOL I love the list. :D

    When I lost my job several years ago (which I was going to quit anyway), I was finally able to do the one thing I've always wanted to try: write a book.

    Until then, I had wanted to write historical romances, but Harry Potter was hot and I was a big fan of it. So I thought I would write MG instead. Turns out I wasn't writing MG, I was writing YA. But I only realized that by reading tons of MG and YA books, and discovering I LOVED YA.

  12. Great insight. And I love the poster.

    What made me write, when I had my first child writing saved me from the baby blues. I've been writing every since.


  13. What a perfect to come out as a writer--the teen years! You have stories unfolding all around you.

  14. LOL! I love it. And it was similar for me - my teen neice and my MG kids and all the awesome books/life/experiences that happen in those amazing years! That, and yanno, the love of writing. :)

  15. So this is what I have to look forward to? Living in this world only helps our writing so I'm ok with it!

  16. Must be practical to have actual teens at home. :) Love the "snapshots" above.

  17. Sorry for the late replies, I've been in SCBWI-LA conference bliss.

    Lee R: It is nice to have residence "experts."

    Julie: Make sure your shoulder harness is firmly in place or the loops will throw you out of the car.

    Susan: Those tweens and teens are such fascinating creatures.

    Lee Mc: The drama is always at high pitch in a house with teens.

    Kathi - Creativity saves! Baby blues are awful, but the babies are worth it. Thanks for stoppin' by ye olde blog.

    Stina - I hear YA!

    Lee B. - Yeah, that unemployment thing does tend to free you up for other ventures, especially AFTER the freak out.

    Laura - I feel like I'm betraying my lit. niche when I read an adult novel now.

    Lydia - Here, here.