3 Tips on writing for Teens

Sometimes keeping up-to-date with today’s teens is like making sure you know what the next best video game is or the next teenage rock star is singing about. That’s fine – but in order to write for them, its an even bigger challenge. It is tough enough getting teens to read ‘our’ fantasy/sci-fi classics: like “The Hobbit”, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, or even the classics like, “Tom Sawyer” or “Catcher in the Rye”. They don’t know what they are missing – unless they are forced or ‘required’ to read them.

And I doubt most teachers are having Young Adults read the Harry Potter series or the Twilight series – but this is how to understand how to write books for teens. Most importantly: What’s hot and trendy!

Here are 3 tips on writing for teens:

1. Trendy now may not be trendy tomorrow. writing for teens
2. Know what the daily conversations are about.
3. Be a teen.

Keeping each tip in mind on a daily basis, especially as a Young Adult writer, will help you develop subject matters that teens will ‘go for’, and hopefully, create the tipping point for your book as a top seller and eventual movie deal!

1. Trendy now may not be trendy tomorrow.

If you didn’t act upon the Vampire craze before it became a craze, you might be too late. In the small little circles through the years, it was a hot topic, but when Stephanie Myer finally brought her book on scene, the Young Adult girls, and mature adult females, were hooked! It became a phenomenon. Two female writers, in the past ten years, have captured the minds of Young Adults and Older Adults with Twilight and the Harry Potter series. What does this tell you?

Finding the next big trend is not what a writer should be focusing on. Understand that a single writer cannot control or influence a trend and writing ‘for a potential’ craze may be the worst thing a writer can do.

The key: write your story – without thinking its the ‘next big thing.’.

But what do you write about?

2. Know what the daily conversations are about.

Join social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter. Know what the hottest twitter trend is, who are all the girls ‘dying for’ right now and why. What are young adults writing on fan fiction sites? What movies are they flocking to and talking about over and over again?

Tomorrow, around the water cooler, what are workers talking about? If you write a 1,000 word article based on the topic around the water cooler, you would have workers interested in it right away. So if you are able to find out what Young Adults are talking about, and provide stories that revolve around that specific interest right now – you may have yourself a hit!

teens writing tips

3. Be a Teen

You were once a teen – what did you read? Can you sit through those books now? If you could make them better – how would you do it? Why did they interest you? Although the prose may not capture the attention of today’s young adults, the story, modernized, may make for the next Twilight or Harry Potter series! They need to identify with your story.

The first 10 pages of Twilight can really ‘grab’ the teenage girl that juggles life between two parents. 50% of marriages are ending in divorce. That’s a staggering number. There are kids involved – alot of them are girls. Just give the first couple of pages of Twilight to one of these girls and they are hooked!

So ask yourself, what did you love as a teen – and how is that love translated to today’s teens? Write that story!

These writing tips on writing for teens will keep your mind open to the things around you. A teen’s interests seem to change daily. Catching up is a never ending race, so finding the next trend should not be the focus of your new book. Be a part of the Young Adult ‘network’ so-to-speak. Remember what its like to be a teen and write, and this is the biggest cliche but it may lead to the next best seller… write what you know!