I want to tell you a little story in how Orenthal and Gomer came about. I asked real teenagers to help me out in the creation of the main characters of The Fairy Tree Troll. Those teens are now adults with children of their own thus. But I wanted to know how would a modern teen write a futurist story. I wrote the story based upon a very ancient legend that exist in nearly society. I asked the kids in my neighbors what would they include in the story.
They said the first thing I could do was take the overly gross sci-fi stuff out. Asking, “Who talks like that?” I deleted it. (Well the original draft still has those parts in it.) “Only old people obsessed with Star Wars talk like that.” I didn’t get offended. I listened for I did asked for their help with their parent’s permission.
“Take out the 1950’s idea of teenager.” One girl said. I deleted. “Citing this is a different world. This is 2004. You guys didn’t grow up with many of the things we face.”
I asked their input because I wanted the characters to sound like real teenagers not what we adults think they sounds like and say things real teens would say. They aren’t as ho-hum as we think they are. They’re very interested in what we adults are doing and don’t mind helping out if we treat them like the big kid or young adult they are and not like a baby.
One young man suggested adding a futurist rapper, but the others said,”NO, we don’t know what kinda music people will be listening to 500 years from now. A rapper of today will look as odd to people of the future as people 500 years ago looks to us today.”
After many exchanging of ideas they all eventually agreed that it best to stick a classic revised version of common things with just sprinkles of hi-tech in the mix.
Now, this doesn’t include getting them to help you around the house and many other things of the teen angst years. I haven’t figured out how to master all of them yet.
What I learned from this book is that they mostly want us to respect the fact they aren’t five year olds anymore and treat them accordingly. No, they aren’t adults yet and we still must protect them and look out for their well-being. I know its hard to let them grow up. Been there, done that. But holding them back to your ideology of what a teen could be cause much more rebelling and misbehaving than letting them find their own way. When I say let them find their own way I don’t mean give them a free rein to do whatever they please or giving in to every thing they ask for or want to do. They will get hurt or worst if adults do that.
But they have a lot to say if we listen and you better listen because they are only saying it once. They are very intelligent and have listened to many things we taught them.
So, it might not be they aren’t talking, it might be that we adults aren’t listening.