Monday, September 27, 2010

Create an authentic teen in 9 easy steps!

As someone who works with teenage girls, waits on teenage girls, and coincidentally, is not long past being a teenage girl, it has come to my attention the depiction of teens in YA and books/movies in general are pathetically inaccurate. So. If you want your writing to have a truly authentic teen, use the following rules:

1. Facebook is GOD. If it is on Facebook, it is irrefutable fact and must be treated as such. Likewise anything said in facebook messenger can and will be used against you in future rumor spreading. There are also numerous rules and codes on Facebook. For example, if you list a best friend as your “sibling”, you are declaring to the world that you are BFFE. There is also listing yourself as “married” to your best friend, and your “wifey” bff has an even higher rank than your “sibling” bff.
Note: If you wish to show commitment between your female MC and her significant other, please ensure that you include they have made it “Facebook official”. This concretes the relationship and ensures that it will never, ever, end. I would compare it to Bella marrying Edward, only much, much more serious.

2. Begin all sentences with “Dude”, “Bro”, “Oh my god!” or “Seriously”
“Dude, did you see the VMA's last night?”
“Bro, was Kanye a dick again?”
“Oh my god, Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat.”
“Seriously, she's like, such a snazzhole.”
*Note: I'm not sure what a snazzhole is, but I just heard a 16 year old girl use it. I'd assume it's similar to calling someone an asshole.

3. Insert “like” after every two to three words. This is a given, and I'm not sure why it isn't used in dialogue in YA novels. We all know teens talk don't like this:
“I saw Maci at the mall with Josh and oh my god, she looked huge!”

They talk like this:

“I like, saw Maci, like, at the mall, with like, Josh, and like, oh my god, she like, looked huge!”

4. Use long, rambling, difficult to follow sentences. “Dude, you're the one acting weird. That's why he put a sad face. Because you're the one acting different. You know if you're acting that with Kyle and Sara's acting that way with him what do you think he's going to do? Seriously, it's not his fault that you're being a snazzhole right now and totally freaking out on him because of what he did that like, wasn't even his fault, like seriously how was he supposed to know that you knew that Sara told him she was into him?”

5.For some reason, in YA books and teen movies, there is that one, reliable, always-there, labrador-loyal best friend. DURR!! No!! That is completely unrealistic. Your teen character needs a new best friend every week. And a huge end-of-the-world, never-speaking-to-you-again blowup fight to end the friendship. *Note: Said ex-best-friend can be reinstated without warning at any time. Replacement best friend now becomes frenemie number 1. This cycle can be repeated throughout your book and is important because it shows what true friendship is (competition and jealousy).

6.When showing your character writing an e-mail, text message, status update, etc. please add extra letters to all words, for example: boyssss and be sure to include <3333s and :) and difficult for adults to understand acroynoms: ilysm, rofl, lmao, ily, wtf, etc.

7.If you are writing a contemporary YA romance, sexting is a must. It's completely romantic and well-thought-out on the part of the teens.

8.No more Miss Nice Girl. High school girls. Are. Bitches! I don't care how nice or innocent or sheltered you think your MC is. She isn't. By definition, she must be a bitch because she is a teenage girl. She must call other girls fat, regardless of how skinny they are. She must flirt with other girl's boyfriends. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

9.If you think you might be going to far (drugs, sex, alcohol, tragedy) you aren't. If you're writing about kids in high school, it is impossible to go to far. If anything, real teens are far more screwed up and out of control than you could ever concieve.


Anonymous said...

This post is hilarious! It's also sad, being that it's not as farcical as one might hope.

I'm frightened by the word "snazzhole". I have never heard it in real life and I hope it stays that way.

Deb Salisbury said...

Oh, no! Thank goodness I don't write contemporary YA. I couldn't bear to, like, write, like, like that. ;-)


Renae said...

Snazzhole? Loved it! This was such a great post!

Danielle said...

Thanks! This was really fun to write :)