Why I LOVE To Write For Teens, by Alane Ferguson
With my daughter, I just finished watching back-to-back episodes of The Vampire Diaries. I found myself squealing with delight when Elena FINALLY kissed uber-hot Damon, followed by me bawling my eyes out in …the next episode when a character named Alaric stoically accepted his fate, while The Fray’s “Be Still’ played mournfully in the background.
Before you judge me a weepy author, I dare you to listen to that beautiful song without at least a single tear welling up in your eye. (Okay, okay, so maybe I’m just a wimp…) My point is, as my daughter and I passed the tissue box between us, I wondered at how my inner teen has remained in many ways unchanged by the passage of time. It’s as if I’m still the same girl running late to class, jamming my books into my too-full locker while trying to remember which pocket of my backpack contains my missing homework. (To this day I have that awful test dream, the one where there’s a quiz that I haven’t studied for and I’m at my desk, trying frantically to write down the answers on a blank sheet of paper.) My conclusion is that, although I’m now much older and wiser, I’ve been lucky enough to retain that passion, which in turn transmutes into the characters I create. My Cameryn is full of emotion, as are the other characters I’ve breathed to life on the page. They embody my readers. As my readers embody me.
So many times I’ve opened my door to a young woman in crisis. Many are friends of my children who just need an ear. We talk, we eat, we laugh, and yes, sometimes we cry. Everything for them is so raw, so intense, and very, very important. When it is time for me to create, I find that I write their stories – never an exact rendering, but a flavor of what they share. That is mixed within the texture of my own memories, and I find myself echoing the words of Cameryn Mahoney, who is intent on giving ‘the voiceless a voice.’
As a young adult author I find that is my mission. I listen, and I remember. In the end I write for people I love, readers who are themselves filled to the brim with what I call ‘life force.’ These are the ones who will change the world. I can’t wait to see what they will do, because I and others will be the beneficiaries of their boundless energy and ideas. Carpe diem!