Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Stepping into character
I recently took my first stab at writing young adult. I posted some of my novel on Inkpop, a Harpercollins website. It's been up there for a little while and I noticed lately the large number of comment or private messages I've gotten about how well they think I captured the voice of a teenager. Today, I got a message from a reader asking me HOW I do it. After letting out a big sigh of relief because that was one of my biggest fears about trying to write a YA. I didn't want to sound like I was TRYING to sound young if that makes any sense, but after that big sigh I started thinking about how, as writers we do that. How do we completely step into our characters and give them their unique voice?
With all my books, adult and YA I have to do that. We give these characters personality and then have to find a way to make it come out just right on paper. Not only that but, they all have to be different. We don't want all our characters to sound the same, so how is it we switch gears from a 16 year old girl with no friends and a mom who believes in vampires when she doesn't, to a first year lawyer looking to indulge in a wild weekend after all her years of hard work? Or from a museum curator who falls in love with an artist to fun-loving, flower child who owns a coffee shop in San Fran?
I don't know the answer. I guess as writers we just DO it. I think for people who don't write, that's hard to understand, but that's the best answer I have. I completely let my characters take over when I'm writing. Somehow their personality and voice travel from inside my head to my fingertips and they no longer become someone I'm trying to create. While I'm sitting at the computer, they become me. Or better yet, I get to become them.
Happy St. Patricks day. Hope you're wearing your green. Also, if you're interested in checking out my first trip back to my teens, you can read it HERE
If you enjoy it you can add it to your picks. I'm at twenty and if I get into the top five, my story will get read by Harpercollins editors!