Short piece on writing for young adults in today's world. First appeared in inaugural issue, #1 of Awe-Struck FLASH - Official Newsletter of Awe-Struck E-Books - A Publisher of fine electronic books
Gracie C. McKeever © 2000
In many ways today's teens are so technologically advanced, well-informed and more sophisticated than I was at their ages that I felt unqualified to address the issues most of them daily face on the road to adulthood. Excessive violence in the media, drugs, teen sex (to have or not to have), teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, cyber stalking…the entire gamut of social disorder.
What did I have to say about writing for such a worldly-wise yet endangered and morally bankrupt breed that the Madison Avenue ad geniuses and social scientists hadn't already said and said much better and more powerfully? Then I realized I had more in common with today's youth than I'd first imagined. I believed that my thoughts and feelings were irrelevant and unimportant to any outside my (cyber) circle. I believed that those outside my world couldn't possibly be interested in the difficulties and triumphs I experienced every day, or care about the hobbies I pursued. Strange sentiments indeed coming from a writer who breathes to elicit and provoke with her words. Nonetheless, I had been sucked into a vacuum—a "real world" rut of day jobs, adult stresses, and preoccupation with my creativity, or rather my inability to create. Consumed with me-myself-and-I to the exclusion of all that was going on outside this all-important trio. A dangerous state for any writer, but even more lethal for one who presumes to write for an ever evolving market governed by the most volatile generation around since flower children.
I won't pretend to be an "expert" on writing for today's young adult; I know I'm not. I am, however, one who remembers what it was like to grow up misunderstood, stifled and alienated by the adults around me; I can only hope I've conveyed this expertise in my work.