How Do I Write Teenage Characters?

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Writing a teenage character can feel daunting.

Every new generation has its own slang, music and questionable fashion style that leaves previous generations baffled.

So how do you make them feel realistic and current?

Do your homework

There are lots of resources at hand to do a bit of research.

Try watching TV episodes made for the age group and set in the country your character will be from.

Besides hearing the dialogue play out and seeing how the characters are dressed, you can also get a feel of current trends and interests from the storylines.

Another great way to get a quick insight is to have a flick through some teen magazines.

You’re bound to find out who everybody’s talking about (and crushing on), what music they’re listening to, which apps they’re using, what games they’re playing, what they’re watching, and current fashion trends.

Advice pages also give an idea of any common concerns.

Blast from the past

Everyone was a teenager once. Write down what you can remember of the time.

What made you happy? What scared you? Were you thinking about the future? What did you and your friends talk about? What did you wish your parents would understand?

The chances are that all of these things are universal, with some variations.

For example, being worried about bullies in the playground might now equate to bullies on social media.

If you can tap into that feeling of being sixteen again, you’re on to a winner!

Don’t go O.T.T.

Remember not to get too carried away with it.

Using too much slang isn’t realistic – a light peppering will do!

It’s like any kind of research.

Most of it won’t make it into the story at all, but it will make you understand your character better and make them more three-dimensional, too.

For more writing advice from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.