As you read this, picture me enjoying myself admist the glories of red rock canyons and bright blue skies. I am currently on vacation, but thanks to my handy-dandy new schedule, I wrote my posts ahead of time. So I now speak to you from the past...woooooo....
Teen Tales: Connecting the YA experience with YA literature
Shallee ● Aug 8, 2011
Ahem. Anyway, today's post is actually all about the past. I've been thinking a lot about the YA genre lately (because, well, I write it), and it's occurred to me that there are a lot of us adults (and teens!) writing for teens. Which I think is great! But there are also a lot of us blogging about writing, and the YA part of us sort of gets lost on our blogs.
So I'm starting a new series today! Every Monday, I'll be doing Teen Tales, where you'll get to hear stories of my lovely teenage years (and hopefully other people's, too). Then, I'll connect that hilarious/moving/ridiculous/amazing/embarrassing story to YA literature today for those who write and read YA.
Today's story comes from my very early YA years. As I dug out my old diaries for inspiration, I found a letter tucked in one. DO NOT OPEN UNTIL MARRIED, it commanded. I barely remember writing such a note, but as I'm married now, I eagerly opened it to find out what teen me had to say to myself. Alas, it was not to myself. It is written to "My Dearest One."
That's right, ya'll. Sweet, naive, 14-year-old me wrote a love letter to my hubby on Sept. 18, 1998. Allow me to share portions of this letter (Hubby has graciously allowed it to be shared).
"Someday I'll meet you, and I'll probably still be naive, but you'll love me anyway. You'll love me if I'm fat or skinny, pretty or ugly...We will love each other forever...Sometimes it comforts me to think of someone who loves me for just being me. I don't know where, when, or how I'll meet you, but I will. Your love now and forever, Shallee."
I died when I read it.
First, I died of laughter because it was so darn innocent and sappy (trust me, I cut out some of the sappiest stuff). Then, I died of romantic swooning. Because come on. Who DOESN'T want that kind of love? Who NEVER wanted a boy who would love them for the person they were inside? Who doesn't want that NOW?
No hands raised? I thought not.
When I took Brandon Sanderson's writing class of ultimate awesome, he said that YA must have romance (MUST. He circled it thirty times on the chalkboard, emphasizing that it must be full of PASSION). And while some of us oh-so-mature adults roll our eyes a little bit at the PASSION in YA, who among us doesn't identify with it? Romance is an dazzling part of life that should naturally come out in our writing. Teenagers feel everything so much more keenly-- I'm sure we all remember that-- and romance is a big part of that. And it's one of the things I love about writing and reading YA.
When it's done right, of course.
So, my friends, what kind of romance did you have (or long for) as a teenager? What romances do you love or hate in the YA books you've read? What's your definition of "right" in romance when you write? And who would like to be a guest poster for Teen Tales in the future (be sure to leave an email addy in the comment)?
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