Monday, January 26, 2009

Channeling my Inner 16-year-old

First off, thanks so much to the Fictionistas for letting me crash your blog! I always wanted to be in with the cool kids. ;)

Secondly, I must admit, I am not a fully initiated YA writer yet. Three years ago a friend of mine suggested I might start writing YA. She said I had a natural voice for it. ‘K, I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered she thought I’d be a natural at something, or offended that she was calling me immature. So, I blew her off. Two years ago, she suggested that YA might be a good direction for me to go in. I write adult fiction. You know, ‘cause I’m an adult. Again – blew her off. Last year, repeat. This past December, persistent thing that she is, my friend again suggested YA. Okay. Fine. For the love of heaven, I’ll try it if you just stop hounding me. But I’m not going to be any good at it. It’s been years since I was a young adult. Teenagers are going to know I’m a total fraud. I’m not hip. I’m old.

But, to shut her up, I started writing. And you know what? As soon as I did, I realized something about myself. I am not all that adult after all. Deep down (okay, maybe not even that deep), I’m still pretty much 16. And, as I started writing about my sixteen-year –old character, the story flowed so naturally, it was like I was back there in high school again in a heartbeat. How fun is that?! Can I just say, my friend is a genius. YA rocks.

Though, I will admit, I did have to go find myself a focus group of teenagers because, even though it was scary easy to slip back into the mindset of being 16 again, the fact remained that the world has changed a bit since I was in high school. I found myself having to make a few minor adjustments as I went along.

High School in the ‘90’s:


High School now:

(I just got my first iPod. Have I figured out how to load songs on it yet? No. But it looks shiny and pretty.)

High School in the ‘90’s

Passing notes

High School now:

(Whoever invented this is a genius. The guy who’s even more of a genius? The one who invented unlimited texting plans. I bow to your greatness, sir.)

High School in the ‘90’s:


High School now

(Who knew sweats were so stylish?.)

High School in the ‘90’s

Kurt Cobain

High School now:

(Yay, rock is cool again! Ya’ know, as long as you bathe and shave and trim your hair now and then.)

So, anyone else have any teenage 2009-isms I should know about? Bring ‘em on. Now that I’ve discovered the joy of YA, I need all the help I can get dragging my inner sixteen-year-old into the new millennium as I write this first new adventure.



  1. Great post, Gemma!

    So, my 2009 question for you is...are you Team Edward, or Team Jacob? ;-) (And what do you think about Robert Pattinson's hair in the movie?)

  2. I know this probably makes me a big loser, but I miss my walkman. I'm having a hard time figuring my (inherited) iPod out.

  3. Amanda Brice9:53 AM

    GREAT post, Gemma!

    I think we're all a little immature at heart. But that's a good thing.

    Oh, so you forgot to show high school TV dramas. In the 90s, 90210. In 2009, Gossip Girl.

  4. Team Edward! (And the hair rocked.)

    Amanda - Okay, I have to confess, I was actually in a couple episodes of 90210. (Waaaay in the background.) I used to work as an actress and got be in the last season before they all grew up. Ahh, the good old days. ;)

  5. Amanda Brice11:43 AM

    I knew you were in the Sweet Valley High series, but didn't realize 90210, too! Way cool!

  6. Let's see...
    then: Lestat
    now: Edward

    then: Friends
    now: How I Met Your Mother

    then: pager
    now: cell

  7. Great post, Gemma!

    I can't think of anything to add to the list. Except maybe, Nintendo vs. Playstation/X-box/Wii.

    And Kristen, when I was given an iPod 2 years ago, I had to ask the guys at Radio Shack how to use it. :-D

  8. Who sings that country song about 1970-something and 1980-something? I heard it on the radio today and loved it, and then logged on to find this great post!

    I heard somebody saying fashion was going to be going "80s retro" this year and thought... dear GAWD what could they bring back???

    Members Only jackets? Jelly Shoes? Rolled up blazers over virtually everything? Five different shirts with the collar up? TAILS??? I had a braided tail with a bead on the end that must have been two feet long. And maroon hair.

    Awesome post, Gemma!

  9. As long as they leave out the shoulder pads. *shudder* And pegged pants. Though, the leg warmers I could dig wearing again, at least in the winter.

    And, Lanie, you have no idea how addicted to wii I am. It's sad. I need a 12 step program.

  10. Amanda Brice10:30 AM

    LOL, I'm totally wearing legwarmers today (albeit under my jeans...gotta love bootcut just for that reason alone!).

  11. Chrissy, I don't know what song you're talking about, but there's one from Montgomery Gentry called 'Hell Yeah'. They basically sing about the different generations. I love it. If you haven't heard it, I definitely recommend it!

    Gemma, I don't have a Wii, but I love one of their commercials where different people play different notes of what I swear to be the Mario theme. It does look cool, though. But considering I don't even touch my PlayStation anymore, it would probably do me no good, lol.

  12. Dude, hilarious post. Aaaaaah, this brings me back... :D

  13. As long as no one expects me to AquaNet my bangs to obscene altitudes, I'm good to go.

  14. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I miss the movies, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing. Everything was about dancing and rich vs poor. Loved it!

  15. Don't forget the Atari vs. PS3, etc.

    Kids are just way cooler now than when I was in school. I think that my mind is seriously stuck in the 16 Candles / Breakfast Club generation...sigh...