Thursday, August 05, 2010

Seventeen Forever

By Nichole Giles

Last week, one of my crit partners was having an issue with nail polish. She sent out a Tweet, asking for some suggested colors. (I suggested a sparkly coral, because it would match her skin tone well.) This led to her explaining that she’s going through a phase where she feels like a teenager, experimenting with hair color, nail polish, and clothing style.

Luckily, my friend is not a teenager. She’s a grown woman with a couple little kidlets and a grownup job that requires her to work forty hours a week.

But she is feeling somewhat like a teenager. And rightfully so. After all, she’s writing an issue book in the young adult genre, which means she’s spending a lot of time in the head of a seventeen-year-old character who is filled with all kinds of angst.

This happens from time to time. We feel what our characters feel, we experience what they experience, and while we’re helping them discover their identities, we’re also discovering more about our own. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s unavoidable for some of us.

We actually put ourselves in the shoes of our characters. For YA writers, that might mean feeling like teenagers all over again. For middle grade writers, that might mean experiencing middle school. For adults, well, that’s another story altogether. Usually, it means living a double life, which has its own merits and issues.

My friend was feeling very nervous about her current teenager phase. But I told her it’s really not all bad. I mean seriously. Worse things could happen. Nail polish? Hair color? Clothing style? Yeah. All minor stuff that most women enjoy anyway. And let’s face it. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you’ll always be seventeen.

Is there?


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I'm this way. I feel like i've had a teenage mentality for years now. Case in point? Yesterday I put electric blue streaks in my hair. :)

Jolene said...

I put off writing a certain spot in my book because I knew it would leave me feeling depressed. I stayed up and wrote the first draft of this section in one night. Just to get it over with and so my husband wouldn't have to live with a grumpy wife, not that the lack of sleep did my any special favors.

Rebecca said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all. I've been doing a bit of the same myself...well, getting more interested in makeup and nail polish again. :D

Nichole Giles said...

Hi ladies! Tamara, electric blue? Really? Hm. I'm considering a purple streak myself, but tend to be fairly fickle when it comes to color, so I haven't done it yet. Brave of you! Go, go, go!

Jolene, I do that lots, because I know how hard it is to write those scenes. So I get it. Really. Just remember that once you get through it, you can move onto better scenes and you'll feel all happy and accomplished.

Rebecca, I am so a teenager at heart. Makeup, nail polish, jewelry, clothes--I'm into it all. The only difference between my teen self and my grown-up self is that my grown-up self has a checkbook and some credit cards to go along with my more expensive taste.