Tag Archives: Eaton

How to Write Epic Young Adult Characters

Woohoo!  If you’ve been hanging out here long enough, you know I am a perpetually long-lived teenager. Writing a teen voice is natural to be because, well, I kinda still talk like that. Ya know?

But for some who may have given in to the peer pressure of growing up, finding that authentic teenage voice might be a little hard.

Today, I invited author Jennifer DiGiovanni to chat about writing a really believable teenager. Take it away, Jennifer!


Advice for Ex-Teenagers: How to Write Epic Young Adult Characters

Writing for teens means getting into their mindset.

You might call yourself an ex-teen, a teen plus or a former young adult but you still need to be able to empathize with the challenges faced by today’s young generation to write relatable stories.

Here are five tips to consider when you’re writing epic teen characters.

Ask Teens for Input

Have an actual teenager (or 2) read your book. You may be surprised at their reactions. If you have your own teens at home, chances are they’ll be happy to tell you about the overly detailed, boring parts of your manuscript. (My most recent critique: You sure do use a lot of adjectives!). If you don’t have any teens in your family, seek out a young adult reading group at your local library. If you’re willing to pay for their reading time, many teenage book fans will be happy to give you their opinions.

Learn from those who write specifically for teens

When I first started writing, I attended a long string of local writers’ workshops. I met mystery writers and romance writers. But, it wasn’t until I sought feedback from authors who’d devoted their careers to writing for teens that I truly felt their advice start to click. From story ideas to dialogue, kids need to relate to your writing. I‘ve found that I’ve learned the most from authors who are successful at connecting with a younger reading demographic.

Stay up to date on technology

Today’s kids communicate differently. No longer do they share one phone per household which is hanging on the wall in the center of the kitchen. Entire conversations take place via text message and as writers, we need to portray modern technology authentically in a teen novel. Texting, social media posting and Face Time have replaced landlines and even emails. If your novel doesn’t reference any form of modern communication, teens will notice and your book won’t feel relevant to them.

Interact with teens and ask them about their interests

With so many exciting new technologies available in schools today, kids are working with highly advanced robotics and artistic media. Expand your writing by creating characters who have unique interests appealing to today’s young adults. Don’t be shy about interacting with your audience through young writers’ workshops or other community organizations.

But … don’t forget your personal teen experience

Authentic teen fiction connects readers with a highly emotional time in everyone’s life. Teens are all about firsts – first love, taking the first step toward independence, or trying something for the first time which ultimately becomes a life-long hobby or career. When writing, consider your own teen experiences. Recapture the excitement, or challenges, of your teenage years within a unique and modern framework.
Writing for teens as an adult gives you a unique perspective. I know that I never could have written an effective parent-child relationship before I was a parent. Having survived your teen years, you’re able to look back on an important time in your life and write about what impacted you most, which in turn should help today’s teen readers to gain inspiration from your stories.


School days don’t get easier just because you’re a senior! It’s the final semester of senior year, and everyone at Harmony High can’t wait to find out the results of the Senior Superlative votes! But the balloon bursts in Sadie’s face when she discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or ever thought of as a potential boyfriend. Completely and utter mortification sets in. To prove high school means something more than a Senior Superlative award, Sadie and her best friend Jana decide to create their own list of awesome non-academic achievements to be completed before graduation. Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. Typical for the girl who can’t seem to achieve anything important, even the completion of one lousy college application. When senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie decides to risk her good girl reputation to prove that an Awesome Achievement means much more than any Senior Superlative vote. By the time Sadie realizes her epic screw-up, she just might have lost her chance at the prom date of her dreams.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Releasing in September: My Disastrous Summer Vacation (a novella) – and – My Junior Year of Loathing

Why aren’t you querying those finished novels?

A few days ago I shared a list of all my upcoming projects on social media. It looked something like this:

Here’s what’s coming down the pike:

  • Ashes in the Sky {Fire in the Woods #2} (In production Release date March 1)
  • Fire in the Woods #3 (Contracted: In developmental edits. Release date TBD)
  • YA Science Fiction (95% complete Work in Progress)
  • Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens) Mystery/Horror (First draft complete)
  • Adult Paranormal (Shifters) novel written in serial (Uncontracted: Number one complete)
  • YA Dystopian Romance (Uncontracted, Complete)
  • YA Space Opera – 8 book series (First draft complete)
  • Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure (First draft complete)
  • Hard Sci Fi Space Opera three book series (First Draft of all three books complete)

 

Outlined concepts prepped, outlined, and ready to be written:

  1. Adult/New Adult Fantasy-Medieval setting
  2. YA Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)
  3. Adult/YA Shifter (Dragons) First chapter written
  4. YA Time Travel (Aliens) First chapter written
  5. YA/New Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)

 

A few people have asked why I have two complete novels, and four “First Draft complete” while it looks like I am currently working on something completely new.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t realize how many things I had partially finished until I created this list. For me, the fun of creating a story is the best part. I love starting a story, and torturing my heroes to the very end of the tale. So much fun!

Usually, by the time I finish a first draft, I’ve already outlined several new ideas that I came up with along the way. Some of these I take a few notes on, and then never go back to. But many, like the five above, get 7000-10000 word outlines, because I love the premise so much that I don’t want to lose even a single spec of the idea.

Unfortunately, I cannot type anywhere near as fast as my brain works, and that list of stories to write keeps getting longer.

Basically, when the time comes to write a new book, I just pick one from the list. Sounds easy. But sometimes there are several stories screaming at me, and even after I choose, a different story keeps me awake at night.

It all comes down to my writing process, which I love… but the business of publishing usually gets in the way of the fun part. That’s why I have so many first drafts right now.

When I finished this post, it was over 800 words long. I was going to talk about my writing process, but I’m going to leave that for my next post. I think this will explain some of the insanity of my current “too many almost-finished books” situation.

See you next time!

 

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Flames longFlames longFlames longFire in the Woods Cover

You can find Fire in the Woods at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |

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Alien Lineup

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We’ve all got Eaton Style. Come on! Sing with me!

Oh yeah! We’ve got Eaton Style!

The lovely and talented Ravena Guron cued me in to this. This is my new favorite boy band signing my anthem “Eaton Style”

“Awkward, frustrated, lonely and insecure. We’re so shy, if you talk to us we may cry…”

Ha! Sounds like writers, right? We’ve got Eaton Style! Sing it, boys!

Parody of Gangnam Style / Gangham Style

From Ravena: (Note… Eaton is the name of a private school here in Britain but this is an AWESOME video and right now this blog does have Eaton style🙂

Write a Story with Me – Installment #1 By Jennifer M. Eaton

OMIGOSH!  I set my story free, and before I knew it, it had a life of its own shooting through the internet and I hadn’t even “officially” posted my first installment!

So, to avoid any confusion, I am posting installment #1 early.  at the end, you will find a link to Jenny Keller Ford’s page two.  She took it in a direction I never imagined!

Enjoy!

Installment #1 by Jennifer M. Eaton

Marci reached up and plucked a fresh shiny leaf from the branch above her.  The tips of her fingers poked out above the majestic three-spiked edges of the damp greenery.

Not quite big enough.

A cool breeze pushed back the sweltering heat of midday, cooling her wet brow with the sweet tingle of its embrace.  Marci closed her eyes, and breathed deeply of the wind’s fresh rejuvenating essence.

Above, the tree quaked and fluttered, dancing and rejoicing in the breeze’s light flirty kiss.  The newly formed branches swayed, revealing older, darker leaves beneath the fresh growth.

Marci reached up, and pulled down the branch.  Dozens of leaves larger than her hand hid snugly near the base of the sprigs, hiding beneath the new foliage.  They glistened with morning dew yet to be burnt away by the afternoon sun.

“There they are,” Marci said, reaching within.

She closed her eyes and moved her fingers through the cool greens, grazing each vein of the immaculate leaves until one quivered beneath her touch.  A smile crossed her lips.  She held her hand steady, and reveled in satisfaction as the leaf warmed to her touch.  “Gotcha.”

A gently tug broke the greenery free.  She held her prize up to the golden rays of the sun.  Droplets of dew sparkled before disappearing, returning to the clouds to fall another day.  The leaf now dry, Marci’s practiced hands wrapped the delicate edges in a moistened white cloth.  She slipped her parcel between the pages of her book for safe-keeping.

To see page two, hop on over to Jenny Keller Ford’s blog, or click here.

And, as an added bonus, (These people are FAST)  Here’s page three…

Installment #3 – Susan Roebuck

Links to new installments will be added as they become available.  Please stop by next Tuesday to see what happens!

Join Write a Story with Me!