Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Prompts to Ask Your Teen Self: Discover Ideas for Your YA Novel

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The best advantage to being a teen writer is this: You can relate with the teens of today since--well, you are one. Adult authors may remember what it was like being a teenager, however they can only recall their experience being raised in their own generation. Not the generation today.

This, I believe, is one huge benefit that teen writers have. In fact, when I wrote PURPLE MOON, one comment I received from professionals in the industry was that my voice was that of an authentic teenager. It didn't sound like a teen trying to become an adult.

Even if you don't want to necessarily pursue publication at this age, use your teen years to your advantage while you can! (Trust me, they slip by far faster than you think. Which is strange. Because while you're in them, it seriously feels like it's going to last for-ev-er.)

So, below are some prompts I've compiled for you. Use your journal, Penzu, blog, Microsoft Word, or whatever you'd like to answer the questions below.

Then, if you want to write YA in the future, you can look back at your responses and discover new ideas for your books. (Or you can generate ideas for the YA book you're working on now. Or maybe you're an adult who needs to recall exactly what life was like as a teen. Or you could answer the questions from the perspective of your main character. Use these prompts however you'd wish!)


Prompts to Ask Your Teen Self ...

  • What taps into my emotions? What makes me laugh and cry?
  • What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to me as a teenager?
  • What are my doubts, fears, desires, and general questions about life?
  • What do I struggle with the most as a teen?
  • Who are my friends? Describe them as if they were a character in a book. What is their personality, appearance, strengths, weaknesses? How have they shaped me into the person I am today?
  • What has been my best memory as a teenager so far?
  • What has been the hardest memory as a teenager so far?
  • What do I want most in life?
  • What kind of person do I hope to become?
  • What is my family situation like, and how do I feel about that? (This is starting to sound like a psychiatrist office ... )
  • What are my insecurities? Fears?
  • What annoys me the most?
  • What makes me on-top-of-the-world excited?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would I describe my personality? My appearance?
  • What is the average day of school like for me? Or the average day as a homeschooler? What do I think about my teachers, classmates, classes, clubs, etc.?
  • How do I spend my free time?
  • Do I have a boyfriend? If so, describe him. What is your relationship like, and why am I attracted to him? If not, would I like to have a boyfriend? Why or why not? What kind of guys am I attracted to?

I also recommend that you keep a journal, even if you only write in it once a day. Not only is this therapeutic and a great writing discipline, but it can serve as possible material for your future books as well. {When you write a journal entry, try to do so in a way that shows rather than tells.}

What other prompts could I add to this list? If you keep a journal, has it helped you generate new ideas for your stories?

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  1. This is really neat Tessa, I love the list you came up with! I'll definitely be writing the answers to these questions in my diary :).


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