It seems like a reasonable question. How do you write for teens when you’re nowhere near a teen yourself? For me it’s easy as I’ve never really grown into a fully fledged adult and on top of that, I have a 17 (soon to be 18) year old son.
Being around teenagers as much as I am certainly helps. I have a lot of deep voiced teenage boys in my house regularly!
Writing for teens is much the same as writing for adults really. I think the key thing is to remember that young adults are just as complex (sometimes more so)
The teen market is absolutely huge and to be honest there is a little bit of a sniffy attitude around YA fiction as a genre which I do not understand. I’ve heard it said that adults shouldn’t read YA and I think why on earth not? Who can say what others ought to read and what is acceptable. Reading material is extremely subjective and fiction particularly.
Look at what Amanda Hocking has managed to achieve and she did all of that while she was still in her twenties. She writes because she loves it. She’s produced some of the best books for young adults. I know she’s had some stick from the self-publishing community about the fact that she’s chosen a traditional publishing route but I get it totally. She wants to write and doesn’t want to be bogged down in marketing. Her success means that she was lucky enough to have had that choice to make.
YA fiction should not be seen as this separate entity, apart from other genres. It’s simply stories that might appeal to teens and younger adults rather than the over 50’s shall we say, and even that is me generalising somewhat. I am 47 and I ready all kinds of genres, teen fiction included. In fact I’ve just finished reading Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell.
I suppose perhaps I make it a point of reading authors writing in the same genre as me.
I’m a lover of teen films too. One of my very favourite movies is Tomorrow When The War Began. I watched it with my son and what we left the cinema, I said loudly ‘That was one of the best films ever’
Books allow you to escape into a world that isn’t yours but feels, just for a while that it is. It shouldn’t matter what you are reading, so long as you are enjoying it.