After this ask a couple of days ago I realised our blog was lacking in character development specific to teenagers. So I am going to try and delve into the murky waters of the teenage mind and hopefully help a few of you along the way.
Teenagers can be the most confusing characters to write, especially the younger end of the teenage spectrum. Why is this? Teenagers are just awkward in every sense of the word and are in the difficult stage of being half a child and half a adult. Feeling grown up and mature yet still being treated as a child. This confusion and fight to find oneself creates a difficult character.
Teenagers are essentially ‘Mini-Adults’ in their stature, intelligence and increasing responsibility. However, most teenagers lack maturity in the earlier stages. This is because they are still learning and developing as a person. These bullet points effect their maturity.
- Life experience or worldly knowledge.
- Friends/Social circle
These factors affect how any character would act, regardless of age. However, teenagers do suffer from a lack of responsibility, by this I mean money, jobs, food. This isn’t a bad thing as ‘let children be children’ but it does affect how they see the world and perhaps allows younger teenagers to see the world more innocently.
So how do teenagers act?
Ask them, observe them. Talk to parents that you know or any family member. Think back to your own teenage years, or if you are a teenager how do you think your behaviour differs to an adult?
How teenagers talk
Recent YA books and adult fiction involving teenage characters have this new habit to include instant messaging conversations or text speak. Whilst I don’t think this is a bad thing to include in moderation it is important to consider how often people do use ‘text speak’ and to not go overboard. When an entire conversation is written as ‘U lyk that boi’ it starts to get painful to read.
Another point I want to make is text speak and technology is constantly changing and including these things runs the risk of your book becoming ‘out of date’.
How teenagers dress
This is constantly changing and depends completely on the individual. Some teenagers or adults may identify with a certain style, from my own experience most want.
Overall it is important to think about and treat teenage characters like you would any other character, their age doesn’t really effect their personality. The most important things you need to consider is the characters background and personal experience their own individuality and positive and negative traits. Develop these characters well and you should have no issues.
Why do teenagers act this way?
Creating realistic characters (todaysteenwriter)
Writing realistic teenage characters
Writing a young character
Hope this helps!