The Most Awkward Thing About Writing Teen Fiction as an Adult

Feel free to share here what you find being awkward about writing teen fiction (if you do find anything) as an adult who writes about teenagers. Leave some advice on others if you think there may be a better way to express the situation at hand.

I’ll go first. I’m 27 years old and I still love reading and writing teen fiction. Yet the age group to pick for teen fiction is just awkward to me because if I want to write something with more mature themes I feel like 13-18 year-olds shouldn’t be reading it, but 18-25 year-olds might find it too awkward to read about teens being in mature situations.

I look at teens at the age of 18 and 19, too, but can’t find a happy middle ground on how to write them as mature, but not too mature, with a category named “teen” knowing my biggest audience may be 13/14 year-old girls. Like, I don’t want to be a bad example, but I don’t want to sugarcoat what teens go through in their lives at times. You know what I mean? :sweat_smile:

I’ll take any advice on how you guys cope with these awkward ages (you don’t have to agree their awkward) and let me see what your least favorite/most cringe worthy part about writing Teen Fiction is.

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well Im 13 years old, and sometimes adults write those kind of mature themes but they put a warning in the chap before so we can skip the chap if we want

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That’s a good idea. I haven’t gotten to any chapters like that yet in my current WIP, and I hate changing themes drastically in the middle of the story so dedicated readers don’t have to feel left out. But thank you for the suggestion!

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I’m 18, and even I find it awkward to write teen fiction, but honestly, it’s probably one of the genre’s that I write the best (along with horror/phycological in my opinion)
The types of teen fiction that I write are meant for people my age though, like 16-18 year olds, but I still rate it as mature because there’s still mature(ish) scenes that I wouldn’t want my 13 year old cousin to read, you know?

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its really awkward to read those haha

I think it’s easily relatable for most because we were all teens once. Super kudos for you at writing well in horror/phycological! That’s probably my weakest point!

horror is really hard to write

Well, I’ve always been good at coming up with very uncomfortable/scary stories, so it just comes naturally lol

I think I tend to make them too grown up. The other thing is that I refuse to put them in skinny jeans or leggings.

I only have one book up where the main character is a teen and I do believe she comes off as extremely mature and focused, with a strong relationship with her family, often playing the role of the mother to her younger brother because her parents are incredibly care free.

Her maturity is vital in making the main plot work, however. I try to write the teens properly, but I know in some cases I fall flat.

One character calls another a ‘debbie downer’, which only my adult characters seem to get. The main character also recognizes a band from the nineties that none of my teen readers seem to know about and isn’t a band her parents would have listened to.

I’m definitely a victim of maturing my teens. Or, when I don’t do that, I follow the trope of “they’re a teen, everything they do is over dramatic and nonsensical.” I need work on finding that happy middleman, but every teen is different so I think that’s something to look forward to when writing them. I had one story I’d written long ago and I started writing everyone as teens because that’s just the YA trope, but I realized that there was nothing wrong with me making them like a young twenty something year old character going through the same difficulties but in a more mature setting.

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I’m a 48 year old straight male and I write about teen girls, and apparently I’m pretty good at it if my Amazon reviews are anything to go by. It’s not awkward for me - I feel totally comfortable writing it - but when some people find out I wrote my books I can tell they think it’s kinda creepy.

I can’t write characters any younger than 17. My brain just will not let me.

I’m thinking about possibly raising the age of my character to 17 going on 18 just because there are themes I don’t want my readers getting ideas from lol.

I don’t necessarily mean that writing about teens is creepy, I just feel that there’s certain elements that I would like to write about that I wouldn’t want a teen to have access to. I know they’ll read anything they want on here and work their way around it if that’s what they choose, but that’s different than actually writing it for the intended age in my opinion lol. I like writing raw, realistic aspects of life, and there’s just some things I don’t want to reenact with teens because it makes me feel strange, even though I know many teens do or have gone through those raw experiences themselves.

Oh. I have no problems with this. I write true to my own teen experiences, which were mostly rated R.

Ah see, that might be the kicker for me. I wasn’t raised strictly, but I did have the very “is she a saint” type vibe when I was younger. I didn’t do any of the living I was supposed to do as a teen! My experiences didn’t happen until I was 18 and up. Perhaps that’s where my mindset is slightly stumped. But thank you for sharing, because it does allow me to see that it’s not as frowned upon as my mind would think it is.

I have two YA stories.

One is a coming-of-age story so it has some slightly more mature themes and moments.

The other is more of a ChickLit Rom-Com vibe.

I enjoy writing both and don’t really have too much of a problem writing a teen character because I vividly remember what it felt like to be that age.

Plus I taught middle and high school kids so I was around teens even after I was a teen.

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I love writing teen fiction. I can’t actually write anything else. It’s such a passionate age and everything is possible and there is so much optimism, naïveté and drama, I love it… :purple_heart:

Personally, I follow the general guidelines of what would be acceptable if you wanted to query an agent or get a trad-publishing deal and try to write within that. Basically it means swearing is fine, as is drinking at parties, some occasional drug use etc. There are more constraints around sex and pregnancy. Consensual sex with a partner of similar age, so long as it focuses more on the emotions / decisons involved than anything too graphic is fine. Similarly pregnancy if it’s about decisions, consequences etc is ok. Also darker themes like addiction or abuse, so long as they are explored with sensitivity, are fine too. But context is key with more serious topics…

I don’t mind the restrictions. There is still plenty to explore and I enjoy the challenge of making my stories fit within the boundaries…

I’d love more teen readers. Most of mine are 18-25, followed by 13-18. But they seem to enjoy my work which makes me SO happy… :heart_eyes:

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Realising how damn old you are Y___Y

Great advice/guidance! I would like more feedback from 13-18 how can I meet this audience? My daughter is 12 and bringing to friend but I’d like a broader feedback.
Thank you!

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