Sometimes We’re the Scared Teen, Other Times, the Bold Hero. How our Writing Perspective Changes with Each Character – Guest Post by Traci Kenworth…

For me, writing a teenage character was my first attempt at writing. I could relate to teens as I was fast approaching that age. The teens in my world didn’t deal with a world like we see now. Oh, no. It was sort of a mixture of one of those apocalyptic/survival stories. There were dinosaurs as well as things the government had let off (hey, it was the eighties, after all, and the Cold War was fresh on our minds), and of course, instead of adults being in charge of things: the teens were the leads.

Crazy world, huh? Well, it was filled with all my favorite things at the time. And I admit, heavily influenced by the shows I watched on TV. I didn’t realize it at the time but on that training ground as I think of it now: I was learning to blend things together. Genres crossed with no problem. Things publishers at the time were saying were a no go, in these days, have become more consistent. You take what you want to be in your story and run with it. Make it make sense. Or at least, make us believe it’s possible.

Graduating to more adult characters didn’t take long. After all, what teen isn’t itching for the freedom they think adulthood brings? I wrote scripts based on the soap opera type shows popular at the times like Days of Our Lives or General Hospital. I invented my own soap world and populated it with as many characters as I could think of.

There were the haves and the have nots, of course, Romantic leads and I learned how to switch them out from time to time and rotate the other families so that others stayed in the spotlight as well. It’s crazy how you teach yourself techniques over the years without realizing it simply from watching shows on TV.  Just before I went off to college, I got into Star Trek: The Next Generation and that opened up the planets for me. Not bad for a girl that grew up on Little House on the Prairie and John Wayne westerns.

When I returned from college and started working, I bought my first VCR and after a strenuous discussion with my parents hooked it up to our living room TV at the time. Soon, recordings and my career as a video clerk brought movies into our lives such as The Terminator, Star Wars, Young Guns, Field of Dreams, Tombstone and more. I had to watch movies, of course, to recommend them to customers so we were provided with copies of four or so movies per tape.

These expanded my horizons in terms of what I viewed and new possibilities of characters and settings came into play in my stories. I tapped into mythological gods as well as ordinary folks. Anyone and anything to make my stories unfold into something new and exciting. Unfortunately, I lost sight of the fact that new and exciting doesn’t always equal: attention riveting.

What I mean is that sometimes the more unbelievable a thing is it’s just that: unbelievable. No amount of wizardry works will save something that’s just too out there. People don’t want to search too hard for an explanation for what they’re witnessing. They want to be eased into a situation or at best startled into something simple.

The more complex you make something the more you risk others not wanting to take the time to learn about it. It’s all good to have aliens and such but you have to ground them in something familiar for people. The further out you go from what they know, the harder it is for them to get on board with things. Keep that in mind as you surpass the stars and navigate inland again.

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11 thoughts on “Sometimes We’re the Scared Teen, Other Times, the Bold Hero. How our Writing Perspective Changes with Each Character – Guest Post by Traci Kenworth…

  1. Hi Traci, this was an interesting post for me. I also tried to write a book in my teens and I also worked in a video store. I used to let my mom watch the videos and she’d give me a summary of the storyline. I’ve never liked TV or movies much. Thanks for hosting Traci, Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Robbie. I worked in several video stores after college as I couldn’t drive and didn’t until I was 27. They were my only means of getting around, i.e. walking at the time. I LOVED those jobs. They were so fun interacting with the customers and enjoying the movies. It was heaven for me. Then reality and student loans got the best of me and I had to upgrade to a higher-paying job. Regretted it ever since! Of course, those jobs went out not too long after that with the DVD revolution. That’s wonderful of your mom to help you, Robbie! My mom doesn’t really care too much for movies either. She watches them every now and then but prefers comedy to anything else.

      Liked by 2 people


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