Tag Archives: Humor

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

Write a Story with Me Part 30 – To Janelle’s Horror “What?” – With Richard Leonard

Surprise!  I’m changing the day for “Write a Story with Me” from Tuesdays to Mondays.  Why?  Well, ’cause I can!  Here we go!

It’s been nearly a month since we saw Marci’s poor mom go into labor all alone!  Richard Leonard throws it back to  the birth string this week.  Will Janelle get help in time?  Take it away, Richard!

30 – Richard Leonard

Janelle was already out the bedroom door before realising the old woman was still fumbling for her walking stick. She watched helplessly as Morana shuffled unsteadily across the short distance from the bed to the other side of the night-stand where her walking stick rested, using the night-stand for support. Janelle’s mood fell as she realised how frail the old lady now was. Her magic could only do so much.

“I’m sorry, Morana. I wasn’t aware you cannot -”

“I can do this, Young Fairy. I must do this”, Morana said.

Janelle, said nothing, guilt building within her. To drag this weak old dear out into the cold night to help a woman giving birth seemed to be a cruel irony. Patience, Janelle, patience. At the same time she needed to hurry. The longer Natalia was without proper assistance the more dangerous the situation becomes.

Morana finally had the support of her stick and began a steady rhythm of shuffling towards the door and out of the house. Janelle, to ease her impatience and peace of mind,  would fly up and down the street and patrol the area while Morana hobbled slowly towards Natalia’s residence. At the end of every run she would check on Natalia through the window, carefully ensuring she was still in a stable condition, sometimes offering reassurance that help was on its way.

On the way back she would arrive with relief to find that Morana had made significant progress walking up the street. This continued for several shortening laps until, to Janelle’s horror,

Oh!  The mid sentance stop!  What a way to leave it.  Someone’s quaking in their booth figuring out what Janelle saw!

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Part Twenty-One — Susan Roebuck

Part Twenty-Two — Elin Gregory

Part Twenty-Three — Aparnauteur

Part Twenty-Four — Vanessa Chapman

Part Twenty-Five — Ravena Guron

Part Twenty Six — Susan Rocan

Part Twenty Seven — Kate Johnson AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twenty Eight – Julie Catherine

Part Twenty Nine — Kai Damian

Part Thirty — Richard Leonard

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

 Sharon Manship — TAG!  You are “It”

Work in Progress Challenge. Yup, I’m actually gonna do this one. Why?

Oh, goodie.  I’ve been tagged.  – If you didn’t catch that – there was an intentional little snark there.  Part of me grins with glee when people think of me.  Honestly, I usually thank the person, and move on. [She hangs her head in shame] because there are just not enough hours is a day to do EVERYTHING I need to do.  Nor are there enough days in a week to post all the stuff that bubbles out of my brain.

But this one caught my attention.  This particular tag, I believe, adds value for my readers, and also for myself.

Here’s why:

Recently I started doing interviews in preparation for the Blog Tour for the release of the “Make Believe” Anthology.  (by the way –shameless self-promotion warning—I’m doing interviews now if anyone would like a guest-post – [Wink] 🙂 )

Anyway… I found myself looking at some of the questions and thinking.  “Duh… I have no idea” and moving on to something simpler.  The problem is, when you have five interviews in front of you, and dinner burning in the kitchen, and laundry piling up, and a kid crying with a skinned knee (you get the point) you just want to finish FAST and not think too hard.  So I didn’t answer the hard- hitting questions that more accomplished authors tackle all the time.

What the Work in Progress Challenge is… is a list of questions very similar to many that I came across during the interviews.  Some of them are hard.  Some questions like this I skipped over because I was embarrassed of the answer, and I was afraid to admit it.  Here, (among my 600 or so best friends) I will force myself to answer them honestly.

For one thing—so when you guys get to that point, you don’t feel alone and stupid.  Secondly, so you can think about this for your own works, because you might have to answer these questions yourself someday.

I’m going to post this “introduction” now, and then go back and answer the questions.  This is mostly a prod to myself to make sure I don’t skip any because “I don’t wanna” answer them.  This is me… putting it out there and forcing myself to do it.

Hopefully, going through this exercise will help me be better prepared for the harder questions coming up this tour, and for the next round of interviews when my novel hits the world.

Stay tuned tomorrow.  🙂

By Request: Who verses Whom

Before I get on to this, I have an overall opinion (I know, shocking)

The English language is evolving rapidly.  Whom is one of those words that is unfortunately falling into the realm of obsolescence.  Mainly, this is from lack of use due to people not understanding how to use it.

Also, when you do use it, whether or not you use it correctly, you end up sounding “hoity-toity” because it is one of those words that has become synonymous with “upper class” for some reason.

So, if you don’t mind sounding hoity toity, and you can stop in the middle of a sentence to figure it out… this is what you need to do:

Decide if the “who or whom” is replacing the word “he/she or him/her”

He/she=who

Him/her=whom.

***Let’s explore this, shall we?***

Who/whom fed the dog?

Eric (he) fed the dog. (Chloe is a happy puppy)

He=who

Therefore, Who is correct.  “Who fed the dog?”

Who/whom should I ask?

Should I ask for he? (NO) Should I ask for him? (YES)

Him=whom

So, Whom is correct.  “Whom should I ask?”

(yeah, like anyone is actually going to say that, right?  Do you hear the hoity-toityness?

Here is an example from Grammar Girl:

We all know who pulled that prank.

But

We want to know on whom the prank was pulled.

Now, let’s be serious.  Does anyone see what I’m seeing?  If you tried to use the second “whom” example in your novel, unless you are writing Historical Romance, people would laugh at you.  Who in their right mind is going to say “We want to know on whom the prank was pulled.”?

You guessed it:  no one.

My suggestion?  Use who, even if it is not correct… especially if it is in speech.  Unless you have a character that is a grammarian, I see no reason to use the word “whom” in realistic speech anymore.

Sad, but true.  Goodbye, whom.  We will miss you.  Please say hello to “whilst” for me.