Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Observations

If you're going to write for teens, you should understand at least a little of how/why they think.

Which includes why they do the things they do when they have extreme emotions--and, let's face it, teens have extreme emotions.

Such as the desire to fight.

When boys get into fights, one of two things happens. Either they snap and attack, or they feel threatened and the need to defend. If they snap and are the attacker--watch out. They're not thinking; they're completely physical. But they, often, are only focused on the specific person(s) they want to fight. If you step in between that fight, they (probably) won't (intentionally) hit you, too--boys tend to keep a sense of fighting only the person they want to fight. If they feel the need to defend, you can stop that sort of fight. They don't want to fight, anyway, they feel that they need to.

When girls get into fights, step back. Girls are like rabid, wild lionesses and one should never attempt to stop a girl fight.

Knowing this will make your writing stronger. Think of the different ways boys and girls react to the desire--or need--to fight. Is your character going to snap--and will he inadvertently hurt someone else? Or will your character throw herself into the fight and not care about who they hurt in the way?

(Can you guess what happened in class today?)


MeganRebekah said...

I love analyzing fights too!
Girls are hilarious to fight because it's *always* personal and so they attach personally, pulling hair and scratching eyes.
Guys are so much stronger and the fights are more physical. It's about being the victor, the alpha male.
Awesome post!!
(which kind did you have today -- girls or guys?)

Lisa Miles said...

Great post! It gave me an immediate idea for the wip I'm working on. Thanks:)

Susan Fields said...

I came over here after seeing you won Shelli's contest at Market My Words. I won a prize in her contest today, too. Shelli's right - you have a great blog. Thanks for a very interesting and informative post.

Emily J. Griffin said...

Been there. NEVER break up a girl fight, they're viscious. Boys you can generally get through too, especially as a "fragile" female teacher... I like to play the trust card on this one in the appropriate situation.

Heather Zundel said...

I've seen girls fight. It's brutal. I once saw one where a girl took off her high-heeled shoe and started hitting the other girl with it while they were rolling on the floor. Though I have seen girl fights broken up successfully. Which one did you see today?

(P.S answer my email!) :)

Creative A said...

Hey Beth!

I gave you a blog award. It's halfway down the post. Come claim it :)


lotusgirl said...

As a teacher, you're in an amazing position to see those kinds of conflicts. Great writing fodder.

Clementine said...

Oh my. I can't even imagine how glad you must be that it's Friday.

Miriam Forster said...

Just gotta tell you, this post gave me a mental picture that set me laughing for five minutes. What age do you teach?

Unknown said...

UGH. SO very very VERY glad it was Friday!!! :)

(Miriam, they're tenth graders...although they act like kindergartners sometimes.)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for this Beth. I never really thought about that difference, and it's fascinating. Hope your weekend is peaceful. ;)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I think the Kindergartener boys fight the same way, but I've yet to observe a Kindergartener girl fight-they're much more likely to dissolve in tears and get the adult to lean in.

Awesome post, though! I was just writing a couple of back to back scenes where my female MC is taking on the bad guys. I know, it's not the same as the true girl-fight, but at least it gives me some taste of the personal and wildness factors.