What I've Written About

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scars Vs. Stars

I write YA books. Or...at least...I try to write YA books. Lately though, I've been wondering if I have the chops for this kind of writing. I mean, it's not like I was a teenager yesterday, or the day before that, or the year before that.

Basically, I have to use my memory in order to write like a teenager. Which is weird and scary and in some ways, non-authentic.

Am I a freak that I can remember what it was like to be a teenager really well? Some days, I still feel like a teenager. And some days those scars and stars I took on me as a teenager seem really... well... real.

So what are SCARS and STARS?

Well, this stems from a little belief of mine.

See, I think, essentially, that we are all exactly the same. I mean, if you look at DNA, every human is exactly the same EXCEPT FOR 1% of their DNA sequence. To be human, you have to have all those human characteristics, right? So where does that 1% come in?

Oh I'm sure a scientist could tell you exactly where that falls. But I'm not a scientist.

I think it falls under your STARS and SCARS.

Let me explain it this way.

What if you took a set of identical twins. They look EXACTLY the same, grow up in EXACTLY the same house with EXACTLY the same parents. Now, let's say that when they are teenagers they fall in love with EXACTLY the same boy. And let's say that this boy falls in love with one of them and they get married. For the girl who was chosen, this would fall under her STAR category. This is wonderful for her. But for the girl who wasn't chosen, this would go in her SCAR category. She can pretend to get over it, but never really does because she's SCARRED.

I bring this up, because I write with my SCARS And STARS fresh in my mind.

I fell in love with someone when I was in high school. We dated for a couple of years...and then it all fell apart. Now I'm happily married. But there is this small sixteen/seventeen year old portion of my soul that still aches when I think about him, that still causes me to be nervous that I will run into him. That reminds me what it feels like to love someone and have them not love you back. That makes the heartache seem fresh.

So when I have to write about this kind of thing in my book. I use that SCAR to help me write.

I won't go into my STARS because I don't want to seem like a major BRAGGER. But... ahem... I have many of those STAR moments as well.

So my question is...'Is it enough to use your STARS and SCARS to write? To write true, realistic YA do you need to be a teenager, or have a teenager, or study teenagers? What do you think? AND do you use your SCARS and STARS to write?


Kristina P. said...

Very interesting question. I feel like most of my teenage memories were filled with Scars.

Laura Marcella said...

A combo of having a teenager and studying teenagers is probably ideal. Being a teenager probably helps too, but I'm one of those people who can't write about things when I'm too close to them. I need distance from it for a while, so I never wrote about being a teen when I was a teen.

I love your take on Scars and Stars! Something I definitely need to remember.

PurpleMist. said...

Wow, I love your scars and stars theory. It really got me thinking about what my scars and stars would be.
I think our teenage years are something that stick with us for a long time because that is the time when we start discovering ourselves.
I'm still a teenager and I feel that definitely helps me write through my MC's point of view because she is a teen too. But I think studying teenagers is something that could help you understand how they react to certain situations.

NaTahsha Ford said...

I love that concept. Whatever it is you're doing, it's working! You write the best teenagers. I feel like I'm back in my high school halls when I read your stuff

Lois D. Brown said...

Great analogy. Your brilliance is well ... brilliant.

Suzette Saxton said...

Is it just me? I can't see the text for your posts. Looks like white words on a white background.

Suzette Saxton said...

haha, I reloaded the page and NOW I can see it fine! Cute blog.

I think the only qualification one needs to write YA is to have been a teenager.

Tay Talk said...

I think that if you don't use your STARS and SCARS to write, you're missing out on the opportunity to touch, influence or help a person. We all have our stories. I believe they are meant to be shared.

Write Chick said...

I agree that we do need to tell our stories. Whether we help someone else with them or not, it's very cleansing.

Your comments always make me think about things a little differently.

Thanks Guys/Girls!

Jenny said...

A really compelling question. I can't use mine because those were horrific years for me and I chose to block them out! I admire anyone that can write YA realistically with a true voice. Good for you.