1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    A book for “tweens”

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by spklvr, Aug 20, 2011.

    I hate the expression tween...

    Some back story (of my life). When I was younger, one of my favorite TV series of all time was Braceface. I loved the show because it dealt with issues I actually had in my life. Stuff like parents divorcing, peer-pressure, body image, drinking, sexuality, if you can get a tattoo at 14, etc. And it dealt with these things in a way that didn't look down on me, yet it was also very child friendly, and showed good morals without shoving it down my throat. And how many other kids shows can you name that has an openly gay character? Though I think that episode was banned in the US (weird US).

    Growing up, I really missed more TV series or books like this. Other shows dealt with these things, but I often thought they were too grown up and complicated. That or they forced morals on me (talking to you 7th Heaven), and then I immediately didn't like it. Kids shows on the other hand never dealt with these things, and were just silly.

    So with that in mind, I'm trying to create one. Though I have the basic plot in mind, I'm not really sure how to execute it. Not to mention this is the first time I'm writing with a specific target group in mind (10-14 year olds).

    Are there things you wish someone would have brought up more when you were that age? Do you think there are stuff that are too mature for people that age, regardless of how it's handled? I'm especially thinking of a character of mine that will be homosexual. And because of a discussion about this topic that I had with a gay friend of mine, having this character is extra important to me, even if he's not the view point character. I know it was briefly touched upon in Braceface, but never seriously and Dion was a minor character anyway (and the episode got freaking banned!).

    Any other thoughts or opinions you think might be useful to me? I'm all ears at this point.
     
  2. ShatteredHopes
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    ShatteredHopes Member

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    I think its not so much what happens all the time, I think its a bit of a mixture of events/plot issues that happen AND character development, because it's not always the situation that people can relate to for that sort of thing, its also the characters that portray it. So I think a well thought out character development that's natural would help a lot with the plots you come up with! :)
     
  3. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    I don't think there are topics that are too mature, you just need to present them in an age-appropriate way. Kids need to learn about the big issues in life too.

    Do you know many tweens? I think a good place to start to get material would be to hang out with a few and talk to them, because there are so many issues kids seem to face these days that just didn't exist when I was that age (though I am probably a bit older than you :p).

    Good luck!
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a lot depends on locale... 'tweens' in norway are not likely to be just like those in the uk or us...
     
  5. Admin
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    Admin Contributing Member

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    Politics. My parents try to shove their politics and religious beliefs down my throat, and then criticize me for having my own opinions on the matters that they feel strongly about. I shouldn't be grounded for thinking homosexual marriage is completely okay. I'm sure it's been written about time and time again, but this would definitely be something that would help kids through some hard times, because Lord knows our parents love to spread their ideals.

    'Be yourself, as long as it's the you I want you to be.'
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    When I was 10-14, my biggest problem was being the school reject for being a socially awkward nerd (after that, I turned into the friendly, fairly-popular charismatic quirky nerd, but middle school was bad while it lasted).

    I know it's a theme portrayed a lot already in that type of show, but the thing is, they always get it wrong. They play up the stereotypes ("jocks," "goths," "popular kids") to the point of being unrealistic and get all the dialogue wrong. So if you can get it right, kudos on you. ;)

    And Admin, whenever my parents bring up politics, I've learned to change the subject very quickly. :)
     
  7. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    How about being the kid who was to mature for kids his age? That was me and that made me socially awkward and some strange alien to other kids.

    But I also was the person authority blamed. I was bullied quite a lot back in my day. Whenever I did stand up for myself, none of the bullies ever got harmed. I am being serious when I say this and this isn't in some alternative structure of my memory.

    I cannot remember full details clearly. Though I remember once that I was pushed down and beat up. I go to the vice principal and principal. And I tell them my story. Well the kid announces that I punched him first. Which I never did. And then all his friends stood up for him. Guess who won majority. I got in trouble because I was only one person.

    To authority I was always lying. To kids I was nerdy and strange. And to myself I was lost and wasn't sure of myself.

    Btw, I preferred As Told By Ginger over Braceface. Braceface was way too...I wanted to slap her across the face several times. It's funny that I slightly remember watching these with my sisters.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    That sounds spot-on about the authority. Preppy kids involved in school activities were always the ones believed, even when they were the bullies, which they usually were.
     
  9. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I highly recommend you read some of the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore. These contain a lot of issues that young teens have to deal with (though set to a fictional backdrop) and are written in a way that the kids can relate to. That would be my biggest piece of advice, write in a way your audience will be comfortable with, which might mean sometimes not producing the 'best' calibre of writing. Regarding what issues are too much, my opinion would be if it happens in the real world then you can put it in. Kids hear and see pretty much the same things as adults every day.
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love that quote. I have the same issue with my father, who must be one of the more narrow minded people I know. Mom and I kind of just tune out when he starts. But I also think it's very important to have some outside views, such as those in books and tv series, which is what I hope I might be able to do.

    I know what you're talking about, though (don't hate me) I experienced it from the other side. We were a group of seven girls that knew each other because we were on the same handball team, and we did a lot of crap. Some of which I'm very ashamed of (blowing up a sink and letting someone else take the blame) and something I to this day think was awesome (putting my grandfather's laxatives in the opposing teams drinks). Since we were "good girls" with good grades and did sports, we NEVER got caught. I'm proud to say we never bullied anyone though.

    I loved As Told by Ginger too, but we had a lot of problems with Nickelodeon so I hardly ever got to see it. I agree that Sharon (MC from Braceface) could be annoying sometimes. It took her some time to get stuff, but she becomes loveable as she grows and grows on you.
     
  11. Admin
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    You and me both, my friend. :I
     
  12. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Not just you two. In my teen years I was disgusted by the stupidity of my classmates and I always showed it.
     
  13. Admin
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    I have reason to believe that my Limbic system is overly dev'd for my age. Teenage boys are supposed to do stupid things that could be harmful to their health because the area that controls the thoughts of self-preservation are not yet fully developed. Skateboarding, skiing, swimming, and other things that I know could be harmful or even fatal to my body I avoid almost completely. I hate it mostly because I want to participate in these activities with my friends, but am too scared to do so. I could just be a weanie-pants, but this excuse makes it sound like it's medically relivent and not just me being a wimp. XD
     
  14. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^ I totally get that feeling. It's not being a coward. It's being smart. Like wearing a helmet when I'm riding a bike. Everyone picks on me for it, but I know a girl who didn't do it, and trust me, you do not want to be her.

    My friends tried to talk me into bungee jumping, and I don't get why ANYONE would want to jump off a bridge, and the only thing stopping you from becoming a stain, is a rubber band... no thank you.
     

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